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Southwest Drought Briefing: May 23, 2023

Event Date
May 23, 2023
Event Time
1:00 pm - 1:35 pm

The Southwest has seen record-setting snowpack this winter. Short-term drought in the region has greatly improved. As we look forward to the spring melt, what will this mean for reservoir storage and long-term drought? This webinar looked at current and forecasted drought conditions for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah and then highlighted the LandPKS as a tool to monitor land changes over time

For more information, please contact Gretel Follingstad (


Welcome to the Southwest Drought Briefing 

Speaker: Gretel Follingstad | Drought Information Coordinator, NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

  • Welcome to the May 2023 Southwest Drought Briefing.
  • Learn more about the Southwest Drought Learning Network
  • View past webinar recordings at
  • Introducing the speakers: 
    • Joe Casola, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
    • Jeff Herrick, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
    • Laura Hamrick, Mortenson Center for Global Engineering & Resilience - University of Colorado, Boulder



Current Conditions and Drought Outlook 

Speaker: Joe Casola | NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)

  • Since the beginning of the Water Year, there has been substantial improvement in drought conditions across the Southwest.
  • Smaller areas of drought remain in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado.
  • Outlooks suggest elevated chances for warmer-than-average temperatures in the summer, and the potential for a below-average monsoon.
  •  El Niño is anticipated to develop by the fall. 



Land Potential Knowledge System (PKS)

Speakers: Jeff Herrick | USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS); Laura Hamrick | Mortenson Center for Global Engineering & Resilience - University of Colorado, Boulder

  • Knowing soil type is essential for drought planning & adaptation. Soil type determines water potential holding capacity, water infiltration, and the types of crops/vegetation the soil can support.
  • LandPKS is a free mobile app that can help identify soil types and monitor vegetation.
  • The LandPKS step-by-step guides and built-in algorithm helps non-soil scientists identify their soil 
  • Visit the LandPKS website to download and use the current app or to watch short training videos.
  • To offer feedback or suggestions for future versions of the app, please email



Questions and Answers

Speaker: Curtis Riganti | National Drought Mitigation Center & Emile Elias | Director, USDA Southwest Climate Hub