Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Site Section
News & Events

Intermountain West Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar: April 16, 2024

Event Date
April 16, 2024
Event Time
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

This webinar examined current conditions for the Intermountain West and the forecasted drought conditions for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. 

For more information, please contact Dr. Gretel Follingstad (


Welcome to the Intermountain West Drought Briefing 

Speaker: Adam Lang | Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)/University of Colorado Boulder, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

  • Welcome to the April 2024 Intermountain West Drought Briefing:
  • View past webinar recordings at
  • Introducing the speakers: 
    • Intermountain West Current Conditions & Drought Outlook: Dave DuBois, New Mexico Climate Center, New Mexico State University
    • New Mexico Healthy Soil Program: Katie Goetz: New Mexico Department of Agriculture Healthy Soil Program



Current Conditions and Drought Outlook 

Speaker: Dave DuBois | New Mexico Climate Center, New Mexico State University

  • As of April 9, 2024, 22.7% of the Intermountain West is experiencing drought conditions, with only 2% of the region in Extreme (D3) or Exceptional Drought (D4).
  • Since the start of the Water Year (October 1, 2023), every state in the region has seen both improvements and degradations, although the Four Corners states have mostly seen improvements, while Wyoming has mostly seen degradations.
  • Water year temperatures for the region were above normal. Precipitation was mostly above or near normal, with areas of below-normal precipitation in pockets of every state.
  • March temperatures for the region were above or near normal, except for areas in southeast Arizona, which saw below-normal temperatures. March precipitation was mostly above normal, except for eastern parts of the region and a large part of Wyoming. 
  • Snow water equivalent as of April 14 was near to above normal for the Intermountain West, except for below-normal conditions in northern Wyoming. The Rio Grande headwaters were also below normal as of April 14.
  • All states except New Mexico have higher reservoir storage this year compared to the 1991–2020 median.
  • We are currently transitioning from El Niño to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral. The probability for a transition to La Niña climbs to over 70% by this summer.
  • The 8–14 day National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center outlook favors above-normal temperature and precipitation for the Intermountain West.
  • The summer outlook for the Intermountain West favors above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation for almost all of the region.
  • The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s seasonal drought outlook for April 1 to June 30 favors improvements in Wyoming, along the Utah/Colorado border, and in much of Arizona. Otherwise, persistent drought is expected with a little development in eastern New Mexico.



New Mexico Healthy Soil Program

Speaker: Katie Goetz | New Mexico Department of Agriculture Healthy Soil Program

  • Soil health is “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.” (definition from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service [NRCS])
  • The healthier the soil, the better it can do its many jobs:
    • Absorbing and storing water
    • Sustaining diverse, productive plant and animal life
    • Providing physical stability and support to plant roots
    • Storing, transforming, and cycling nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc.).
  • The five soil health principles include (1) keeping soil covered; (2) minimizing disturbance on cropland and minimizing external inputs, (3) maximizing biodiversity; (4) maintaining a living root; and (5) integrating animals into land management, including grazing animals, birds, beneficial insects, or keystone species, such as earthworms.
  • To decide which soil health principles to implement, identify the natural resource concerns related to the soil on the land you manage. A “resource concern” is a degradation of a natural resource limiting its intended use.
  • Learn how to apply for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Soil Program grants to improve soil health.



Questions & Answers

Speaker: Adam Lang | CIRES/CU Boulder, NOAA/NIDIS