Southwest Climate Outlook February 2009

Date issued

February Climate Summary
Temperature – Western Arizona has recently been cooler than average, while New Mexico is 2 to 4 degrees warmer than average over the last 30 days.
Precipitation – Winter storms that brought significant precipitation to western Arizona bypassed New Mexico, leaving extremely dry conditions.
Drought – Two cold and wet storms moved across Arizona in December, improving short-term drought status in the Little Colorado River and the Aguafria watersheds. In southern New Mexico, drought conditions worsened between January and February.
ENSO – Weak La Niña conditions were present again this month across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, but the current La Niña conditions may be short lived.
Snow – Above-average snowpack persisted into mid-February across much of the high country in Arizona and New Mexico. Many SNOTEL locations are reporting above average snow water content (SWE) in Colorado and below average SWC in Utah.
Climate Forecasts – Temperature forecasts extending into the summer indicate most of the West has increased chances of above-average temperatures. Precipitation forecasts through May call for increased chances of below-average precipitation in the Southwest, with less predictable conditions for the summer forecasts.
The Bottom Line – While winter conditions in eastern New Mexico resemble a La Niña, year most of Arizona and northwest New Mexico have experienced numerous storms. As a result, the Colorado River and Rio Grande watersheds have received more precipitation than average—snow accumulation in the higher elevations of these areas are above average. Streamflow forecasts suggest that these watersheds will have slightly above-average spring and summer flows.

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.