Southwest Climate Outlook February 2010

Date issued

February Climate Summary
Drought– Nearly all of Arizona experienced improvement in drought conditions; only about 15 percent of the state is currently suffering severe drought or worse. New Mexico also experienced significant improvements and is mostly drought free or abnormally dry.
Temperature– Much of the Southwest experienced colder-than-average temperatures in the last month.
Precipitation– Extremely wet winter storms blanketed the Southwest during the last month, with most of Arizona and New Mexico exceeding 200 percent of average precipitation.
ENSO– Moderate El Niño conditions persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean again this month and are expected to continue over the next several months. ENSO-neutral conditions are forecast to return later this spring.
Climate Forecasts– Temperature outlooks suggest elevated chances of warmer-than-average conditions for the foresummer and summer. The March–April precipitation outlooks suggest elevated chances for wet conditions, reflecting the expectation that El Niño will persist and deliver more rain and snow to the region.
The Bottom Line– In late January, the Pacific jet stream clipped moisture from the tropical Pacific Ocean and delivered it to the Southwest. This classic El Niño pattern brought heavy rain and snow to both states. As a result, widespread drought
improvement has been noted and spring streamflow forecasts are above average for many river basins. However, precipitation in the Colorado Rocky Mountains has been mostly below average, causing spring streamflow projections for the Colorado River to also be below average. More wet weather may be on the way, as forecasts suggest El Niño conditions will persist into the spring.

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.