Arizona’s historic drought won’t be fixed in single strong monsoon season

Apr 16, 2021, 7:49 AM | Updated: 11:31 am

(AP Photo)...

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Climate experts say drought conditions in Arizona are the type usually only seen once or twice in a century and one season of rain won’t fix it.

The U.S. Drought Monitor said 58% of the state is in exceptional drought, the worst level. Another 29% is in extreme drought.

“You have to go back to June of 2002 to see anything similar to our current conditions and that was when 35% of Arizona was at this exceptional drought level,” University of Arizona climatologist Mike Crimmins told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Arizona State University climatologist Randy Cerveny said, “We’re going to need several years of water to get us back into a good situation in Arizona.”

Arizona has already entered the driest period of the year, April through June.

“The monsoon officially begins June 15. We’re just going to have to hang in there for the next couple of months until the rainfall arrives.”

The second biggest wildfire in state history started just days after the 2002 monsoon season kicked off. The human-caused Rodeo-Chediski Fire in eastern Arizona charred almost 470,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

As of Monday, nearly 12,000 acres have burned in 233 fires across the state this year, the Department of Forestry said.

“We’ve missed out on a lot of precipitation,” Cerveny said. “Any kind of a spark is going to create a nasty situation.”

But he added, the National Weather Service is predicting an above-normal summer of rainfall from the monsoon.

The official gauge at Phoenix Sky Harbor has only measured 1.05 inches of rain this year; the average at this point is 3.02 inches. Tucson International Airport is at 1.04 inches of rainfall in 2021; the average is 2.74 inches.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

photo of John Saler...

Silver Alert issued for 81-year-old in Tonopah with dementia

A Silver Alert was issued for an 81-year-old man with dementia last seen in Tonopah on Wednesday.

15 minutes ago

Maricopa County Judge Rosa Mroz died Saturday as a result of her injuries sustained in a car-pedest...

David Veenstra

Family of judge killed in Phoenix crash suing Grubhub for wrongful death

The family of a Maricopa County Judge is suing Grubhub after she was struck by a car while crossing a Phoenix street last year.

1 hour ago

DPS finds huge batch of fentanyl pills traffic stop...

David Veenstra

Maricopa County debuts resources to help tackle fentanyl crisis

Maricopa County unveiled a new video series and website designed to help residents understand the growing impact of fentanyl use.

2 hours ago

The City of Tempe works to serve job seekers of all backgrounds, all skill levels and all ages. (Ph...

David Veenstra

Tempe expands free workforce development services

The city of Tempe announced it is expanding its free workforce development services to help businesses fill positions.

2 hours ago

(Pexels Photo)...

10 suspects indicted in Valley scheme involving alleged fake behavioral health care facility

Ten suspects were indicted in a scheme that involved sending patients to a fake Valley behavioral health care facility for monetary gain.

2 hours ago

Follow @Crossfire923...

Sponsored Content by Collins Comfort

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Arizona’s historic drought won’t be fixed in single strong monsoon season