Southwest Climate Outlook May 2006

Date issued

May Climate Summary
Drought – Drought has intensified in the Southwest, with most of the region in
severe or extreme status and some areas in exceptional drought.
• Southwest drought conditions are expected to persist or intensify, but improvements
are expected in western New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.
• The exceptionally low snowpack in most of the basins in Arizona and New
Mexico has led to a streamflow forecast of much below average for 2006.
• Reservoirs in Arizona have declined since last year. New Mexico reservoirs
are better than last year, but the large Colorado River reservoirs, Elephant
Butte, and other important reservoirs remain below average.
Fire Danger – The long-term moisture deficits and the abundant fine dry fuels produced
by last year’s wet winter point to an active and severe fire season.
Temperature – Since the start of the water year on October 1, temperatures over
most of the Southwest have been above average.
Precipitation – The Southwest has been much drier than average since the start of
the water year, with less than 50 percent of average precipitation in most areas.
Climate Forecasts – Experts predict increased chances of warmer-than-average
temperatures and equal chances of precipitation through November 2006.
El Niño – ENSO-neutral conditions have returned and are expected to continue
over the next three to six months.
The Bottom Line – Drought is like to persist or intensify over most of the Southwest
Hydrological drought continues to affect streamflow and some large reservoir
levels, and agricultural drought conditions have persisted throughout the region.

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.