Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Site Section
News & Events

Southwest Drought Briefing: February 21, 2023

Event Date
February 21, 2023
Event Time
1:00 pm - 1:35 pm

Short-term drought in the Southwest has greatly improved while long-term drought continues. This webinar looked at current and forecast drought conditions for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. The webinar also included a presentation on the USGS VisLab, which creates powerful visualization of water science. This webinar highlighted some of the expertise and tools produced there, specifically the USGS Snow-to-Flow data visualization tool. 

For more information, please contact Joel Lisonbee (


Welcome to the Southwest Drought Briefing 

Speaker: Joel Lisonbee | NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

  • Welcome to the February 2023 Southwest Drought Briefing.
  • Learn more about the Southwest Drought Learning Network
  • View past webinar recordings at
  • Introducing the speakers: 
    • Curtis Riganti, National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
    • Cee Nell, VisLab lead at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) 



Current Conditions and Drought Outlook 

Speaker: Curtis Riganti | National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

  • Significant improvements have occurred to the short-term drought situation in the Southwest in the last 6 to 8 weeks. All drought in the region now is strictly long-term.
  • Despite the improvements and good current snowpack, significant long-term precipitation deficits, going back 3-5 years, still exist in many areas.
  • Outlooks for the next couple of weeks favor above-normal precipitation, though outlooks for March-May from CPC favor near or below-normal precipitation for most areas.



Introduction to the USGS VisLab: Water Data Visualisation processes and tools

Speaker: Cee Nell | VisLab lead, USGS

  • The Objective of the USGS Water Data Visualisation Team is to connect USGS water science to non-technical audiences.
  • VisLab provides interactive data visualizations, for example: 
    • The Water Cycle demonstrates how humans interact with the water cycle.
    • From Snow to Flow provides a plain-language explanation of the complexities of snow melt dynamics and how it relates to streamflow and engages water audiences with snow hydrology research at USGS. 



Questions and Answers

Speaker: Emile Elias | Director, USDA Southwest Climate Hub