Thursday, January 13, 2005


Arizona Drought Far From Over

Even the harsh winters storms of late are barely helping the western drought. Arizona and many western states are in the middle of a ten year drought. It has been years since northern Arizona has seen a good snowfall. Reservoir lakes are at less than 25% capacity. While the flooding, mudslides and loss of life are huge downsides to these storms, they do bring needed water to the west.

Although the snow pack in northern Arizona is well above average for the season, it will take at least two more good snow seasons to crest nearly a decade of drought, said Larry Martinez, snow survey program manager for NRCS.

The drought has forced Arizona ranchers to sell livestock to protect grazing lands. And dry conditions in the state's forests have led to a host of wildfires, including the Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2002, which burned more than 500,000 acres.

Here is the current map of the drought in the west.

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