Southwest Climate Outlook June 2020

Date issued

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 for details).

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).

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.