Monsoon flops, #drought intensifies in #AZ — The White Mountain Independent #monsoon #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification #ActOnClimate

North American Monsoon graphic via Hunter College.

From The White Mountain Independent (Peter Aleshire):

Bone dry.

Sweltering hot.

Welcome to Monsoon 2020.

Westwide SNOTEL April 3, 2020 via the NRCS.

Despite a near-normal winter, a hot, dry spring and a fizzled monsoon has cast Arizona back into drought and water shortages.

Although the Rocky Mountains got 105% of a normal winter snowfall, runoff into Lake Powell remains just 52% of normal…

Combined with declining reservoir levels and plunging water tables statewide, the return to a water crisis in the state underscores the enviable position of Payson with its supplemental C.C. Cragin water supply and White Mountain communities like Show Low, Pinetop and others with ample groundwater.

The bizarre lurch from a normal winter to a reservoir-draining drought has also validated climate model predictions suggesting the gradual warming of the planet will create a fitful, ongoing water crisis in the Southwest. Studies show it’s not enough to have a good winter if a hot, dry spring melts the snow quickly and increases evapotranspiration, sapping the spring runoff.

So far, this year ranks as the third-driest on record statewide. Most of the state so far ranks as “much below average” with some areas in the south setting records. Most of California is now in record-breaking territory as the drought returns with a vengeance. Wildfires are burning out of control, with thousands of homes threatened.

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