Southwest Climate Outlook January 2014

Date issued

January Climate Summary

Drought: Moderate or more severe drought conditions cover about 58 and 80 percent of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively. Compared to this time last year, drought is less intense and widespread. However, dry weather in the last 30 days may worsen drought in coming weeks.

Precipitation: Rain and snow were scant in the last 30 days across Arizona and New Mexico due to the persistence of a high-pressure system over the region. With only one storm wafting into the region, precipitation generally was less than 50 percent of average.

Temperature: Maximum temperatures in the last 30 days in the Southwest generally were more than 2 degrees F warmer than average. Minimum temperatures, on the other hand, were either near average or below average across most of Arizona and New Mexico.

Snowpack: Snowpacks are mostly above average in Colorado but below average in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Snowpacks measure about 78 percent of average in the upper Rio Grande basin.

Water Supply:Total reservoir storage in Arizona and New Mexico changed little in the past month. Storage stands at about 46 percent of capacity in Arizona and about 22 percent of capacity in New Mexico. The most substantial increase in New Mexico occurred in Elephant Butte in New Mexico, which gained about 42,000 acre-feet in December and is now 13 percent full.

ENSO: Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Pacific Ocean are near average, or ENSO-neutral. The majority of models forecast the persistence of ENSO-neutral conditions through the winter, with some hints for a developing El Niño in the summer.

Precipitation Forecasts: The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is calling for elevated chances for below-average precipitation across the Southwest through the winter.

Temperature Forecasts: The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasts high chances for above-average temperatures in the Southwest during the February–April period.

Streamflow Forecasts: The first spring-summer streamflow forecasts issued on January 1 call for near-average flows in the Colorado River. Streamflows are projected to be below average on the Rio Grande. Forecasts become progressively more accurate as the winter progresses.

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.