Parts of Arizona seeing “exceptional drought”

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The state is in a severe drought of historic proportions. We talked about it with University of Arizona climate scientist Mike Crimmins. 

The last 10 months in Arizona have been the driest on record.

“Arizona, as a whole, typically sees about 12 inches. Again, that’s the whole statewide average and we saw four. So, we’re a little over 7 inches in the hole,” Crimmins said.

Exceptional drought is the worst-case drought and over half of that state is seeing that.

“I didn’t have great expectations for this winter to produce a lot of precipitation because we were in a La Nina situation. La Nina winters typically lead to drier than ever conditions and that certainly played out this winter,” Crimmins said.

Arizona is seeing these historic drought conditions as we head into the driest period of the year.

“Having a dry monsoon and not having the snow moisture ahead of a dry winter leads to kind of a double situation. Even if you did have some snowpack, it wouldn’t turn into much runoff. That’s really what we’re seeing now,” Crimmins said.

Some have suggested this monsoon season will be wet. Crimmins said although monsoon forecasting is rather difficult, he says there are some indicators to believe that.

Mike Crimmins, UArizona Professor and Climate Scientist

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