Arizona drought could be waning

WHITE MOUNTAINS — Only a small portion of the state in the Verde River watershed is still listed in drought by the Arizona Department of Water Resources as of Dec. 31, 2016.
Heavy snow on the Colorado Plateau has led to the removal of moderate drought across Navajo and Apache counties, and even the southwest has seen improvements with an area of severe drought upgraded to moderate drought across most of Yuma County.
Forty-four percent of the state is out of drought and 0.61 percent is in moderate drought.
To help put it into perspective, Lyman Lake near St. Johns in Apache County was at low levels for the last several years.
Show Low Creek is flowing at 123 percent (36 cubic feet per second) its average in about five years.
And just because the White Mountains get a lot of rain and snow, in comparison to other parts, does not mean people do not need to conserve water.
Average snowpack in the Central Mogollon Rim, Little Colorado-Southern Headwaters and Upper Salt River Basin areas that supply much of the southern part of the state with water are running at 85 percent of average, 89 percent of average, and 62 percent of average respectively.
Clearly, NOAA officials are playing it careful with predictions about the drought until they have a better idea of what is coming this year and years to come.
"Runoff in the White Mountains was not as good as it could have been this year," he said.
Newlin also said climate change is a factor and will be in years to come.

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