West Drought Summary
In November, California’s South Coast climate division reported its second and third highest monthly minimum and average temperatures, respectively, and an average of just 0.10 inch of rainfall (average is 1.51 inches for that period). This heat and dryness continued into early December. Fueled by these conditions and Santa Ana winds up to 80 mph that resulted in numerous Red Flag Warnings. These drought and weather conditions were also a contributing factor in the explosive growth of the fires that started in Southern California the first week of December. Inland, along the southeastern California/Nevada border region, abnormally dry conditions (D0) were extended northwestward into southern Inyo County (CA) and most of southern and central Nye County (NV). It has been be extremely dry across the Mojave Desert this fall. For the first time since records began in 1937, Las Vegas reported no measurable rainfall in October and November, and was on its 89th consecutive day without rain as of the writing of this report. Several other areas were also reporting no rainfall for at least two months: Death Valley (86 days); Barstow-Daggett (69 days); Needles (72 days); Kingman (67 days). In Utah, the continuing dry conditions warranted degrading the remaining abnormally dry conditions in the southeastern portion of the state to moderate drought (D1). In New Mexico, the lack of precipitation over the past two months has taken a toll on soil moisture at 2-8 inch depths at most monitoring sites. Abnormally dry conditions spread across most of the eastern part of the state, save a small area in the southeastern corner.
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