Arizona could possibly be in a ‘mega drought,’ expert says

Jun 27, 2018, 6:35 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2018, 10:08 am

FILE - In this July 28, 2014 file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam at the La...

FILE - In this July 28, 2014 file photo, lightning strikes over Lake Mead near Hoover Dam at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

PHOENIX — Even if Arizona sees an exceptionally heavy monsoon season this summer, that will not end the long-term drought in the state, one expert said.

Randy Cerveny, a climatologist with Arizona State University, said the state is coming off one of its driest winters in years and that it would take several big winters in a row — along with strong monsoon seasons — to end the drought.

“We’ve been in a drought really since the start of this century,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “It’s been a really dry period, particularly in terms of the winters.”

Cerveny said the southwest has seen several “mega droughts” in the past that lasted more than a century and there is no guarantee that the state is not in another one right now.

“Most scientists are agreeing that the drought started right around the turn of the century, maybe a couple years earlier,” he added.

But that does not mean that there’s not good news for residents: Satellite images have shown that storms forming in Mexico are slowly inching their way north.

“The thing to be watching for in regard to monsoon is what’s going down in Mexico,” Cerveny said.

“If you notice from the satellite photos…you’ll start to see that there are more big thunderstorms that are starting to build up down in Mexico and everyday they are starting to inch up a little bit closer,” he added.

“That’s a sign that the monsoonal moisture is getting a little bit closer and eventually will get up here.”

And for those who are anxiously awaiting the first big monsoon storm of the season, no worries: Cerveny said the state will start to see more monsoons over the next couple of weeks.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Judge denies Phoenix request to extend clean up time at The Zone

A judge on Tuesday denied the city of Phoenix’s legal request seeking extra time to clean up the city’s largest homeless encampment.

1 hour ago

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is surrounded by staff, security and journalists as he walks to the Ho...

Brandon Gray

Kevin McCarthy out as speaker of the House: How Arizona representatives voted

In a 216-210 vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was voted off his post, making him the first in history to be removed from the role.

2 hours ago

(ADOT Photo)...

ADOT uses updated technology to improve operation of freeway ramp meters

Updated technology has allowed the Arizona Department of Transportation to optimize the operation of its freeway ramp meters.

3 hours ago

Mug shots of Frank Avila, left, and Albert Valenzuela. The men were arrested after a Phoenix bus ro...

1 man dead, 2 arrested after Phoenix bus robbery leads to hit-and-run collision

A man faces possible murder charges after a victim he allegedly tried to rob on a Phoenix bus was hit and killed by a vehicle while fleeing.

4 hours ago


KTAR Video

Video: What would it mean if the city of Phoenix entered into a “consent decree?”

Maricopa County Sherriff Paul Penzone announced Monday that he would not run for re-election and after bringing in a police chief following a national search, Mike Broomhead ponders what message the city of Phoenix would send by entering into a consent decree. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

7 hours ago

File photo of police tape next to a Phoenix police patrol vehicle. One man was killed and another w...

1 man killed, another injured in collision on 19th Avenue in Phoenix

One man was killed and another was injured Monday afternoon when two vehicles collided on a Phoenix street, authorities said.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.

Arizona could possibly be in a ‘mega drought,’ expert says