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Southwest Climate Outlook June 2020 - Climate Summary | CLIMAS


Southwest Climate Outlook June 2020 - Climate Summary

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Monthly Precipitation and Temperature: May precipitation ranged between record driest and average in most of Arizona, and between much below average and average in most of New Mexico (Fig. 1a). May temperatures were above average in nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico (Fig. 1b). The daily average temperature anomalies for May 1 – Jun 14 (Fig. 2) highlight the fluctuations at select stations around the region.

Seasonal Precipitation and Temperature: Mar-May precipitation ranged from average to much-above average in most of Arizona and from much below average to above average in most of New Mexico (Fig. 3a). Mar-May temperatures were above average to much above average across most of the U.S. Southwest (Fig. 3b).

Water Supply & Drought: Water year precipitation to date (Oct 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020) is above normal to much above normal across most of Arizona and New Mexico (along with west Texas and southern California), while the Four Corners and much of southern Colorado is below normal or much below normal. Many of the reservoirs in the region are at or above the values recorded at this time last year, but most are below their long-term average (see Arizona and New Mexico reservoir storage). The Jun 9 U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) maintains drought characterizations in the Four Corners region while expanding severe and extreme drought characterizations (D2 and D3, respectively) in southern Colorado, and northern and eastern New Mexico. (Fig. 4).

Wildfire: Arizona, eastern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado, and most of Utah and Nevada are forecast for above-normal wildfire risk in July (Fig. 5). Currently, there are numerous fires burning in Arizona and New Mexico including the Bighorn Fire near Tucson, the Sawtooth and Bush Fires near Phoenix, and the Mangum Fire in northern Arizona (See for up to date information on fire activity). Fig. 6 shows wildfire acres burned in 2020 (as of June 17) compared to recent years and long term averages.

ENSO Tracker: Current conditions are ENSO-neutral, and are expected to remain neutral through summer 2020, with roughly equal chances of an ENSO-neutral or a La Niña event this fall (see ENSO-Tracker).

Precipitation and Temperature Forecast: The three-month outlook for July through Sept calls for equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation in Arizona, New Mexico, most of Texas, and northern Mexico (Fig. 7, top). The three-month temperature outlook calls for increased chances of above-normal temperatures across most of the western U.S. and northern Mexico (Fig. 7, bottom).

Online Resources

  • Figures 1, 3 - National Centers for Environmental Information -
  • Figure 2, 6 - Climate Assessment for the Southwest -
  • Figure 4 - U.S. Drought Monitor -
  • Figure 5 - National Interagency Fire Center -
  • Figure 7 - International Research Institute for Climate and Society -