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Intermountain West Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar: May 21, 2024

Event Date
May 21, 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: Dr. Gretel Follingstad | Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)/University of Colorado Boulder; NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

  • Welcome to the May 2024 Intermountain West Drought Briefing.
  • View past webinar recordings at
  • View the May 2024 Snow Drought Update for the Western U.S.
  • Introducing today's speakers:
    • Dr. Jon Meyer is the Assistant State Climatologist at the Utah Climate Center. He specializes in research-to-operations to address Utah’s climate services as well as operational numerical weather and climate modeling. Jon has enjoyed pursuing topics focused on understanding western U.S. hydroclimate and precipitation changes in both the winter snowpack and summer monsoon seasons. In addition to his research-to-operations work, Dr. Meyer also serves on the Utah Drought Task Force and is the state coordinator for the CoCoRaHS network.
    • Curtis Riganti is a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center and one of the U.S. Drought Monitor authors. Aside from this, he also does work looking at long-term trends in drought in the United States.



Current Drought Conditions and Outlook 

Speaker: Dr. Jon Meyer | Assistant State Climatologist at the Utah Climate Center

  • Current conditions suggest most of the Intermountain West region is drought-free or Abnormally Dry (D0), as of May 14, 2024:
    • Arizona: 25.3% in drought (0% in D3–D4)
    • Colorado: 9% in drought (0% in D3–D4)
    • New Mexico: 74.2% in drought (13.4% in D3–D4)
    • Utah: 0.2 % in drought (0% in D3–D4)
    • Wyoming: 20% in drought (0% in D3–D4)
  • A good winter snowpack translated to high soil moisture and beneficial runoff, which helped recharge reservoirs across the region, although signals of the ongoing long-term drought remain present. 
  • Increased evaporative demand and a recent period of warm, dry conditions has increased drought in areas east of the Rockies and around the Four Corners region.
  • The seasonal drought outlook favors redevelopment/worsening of drought conditions in the desert Southwest and northern Wyoming, but monsoon impacts are challenging to predict. However, a delayed monsoon onset seems favorable.



Drought Risk Atlas

Speaker: Curtis Riganti | National Drought Mitigation Center

  • The Drought Risk Atlas provides pre-computed drought indices for more than 4,000 locations across the United States. 
  • Each station included provides a long, continuous record of weather data. Use the map viewer to find the station nearest you. 
  • The Drought Risk Atlas provides pre-generated heat maps, time series, tabular analyses and more for the Standardized Precipitation Index, the Standardized Precipitation and Evapotranspiration Index, the Palmer Drought Severity Index, the self-calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index, the Standardized Streamflow Index, and more.



Questions & Answers

Speaker: Dr. Gretel Follingstad | CIRES/CU Boulder, NOAA/NIDIS