Southwest Climate Outlook February 2006

Date issued

February Climate Summary
Drought – Extreme drought conditions have developed in southeast Arizona and
southwest New Mexico.
Drought conditions are expected to persist throughout the Southwest, due to
winter forecasts of above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation.
The extreme lack of snowpack in most of the basins in Arizona and southern
New Mexico has led to a streamflow forecast of well below average for 2006.
Drought conditions improved from last year, but the large Colorado River reservoirs,
Elephant Butte, and other reservoirs in New Mexico remain below average.
Fire Danger – The abundant grass crop produced last winter has cured into fine dry
fuel in the Southwest, raising the prospect of an early start to a very active fire season.
Temperature – Since the start of the water year on October 1, temperatures over
most of the Southwest have been above average.
Precipitation – Almost all of the Southwest has been drier than average since the
start of the water year, especially during the last three months.
Climate Forecasts – Experts predict increased chances of warmer-than-average temperatures
through August 2006, and below-average precipitation through May 2006.
El Niño – Weak La Niña conditions are expected over the next three to six months.
The Bottom Line – Drought is likely to persist over most of the Southwest.

Published by the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS), with support from University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, the Arizona State Climate Office, and the New Mexico State Climate office.

Disclaimer. This packet contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials. The user assumes the entire risk related to the use of this data. CLIMAS, UA Cooperative Extension, and the State Climate Office at Arizona State University (ASU) disclaim any and all warranties, whether expressed or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will CLIMAS, UA Cooperative Extension, and the State Climate Office at ASU or The University of Arizona be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this data.