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Southwest Drought Briefing: October 11, 2022

Event Date
October 11, 2022
Event Time
1:00 pm - 1:35 pm

The Southwest is in continuing drought. This webinar looked at current and forecast drought conditions for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. It also highlighted a recent research project from Utah State University that used Twitter to track and predict changing drought conditions.

For more information, please contact Joel Lisonbee ( or Emile Elias (


Welcome to the Southwest Drought Update

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

  • Welcome to the October 2022 Southwest Drought Briefing. 
  • Learn more about the Southwest Drought Learning Network.
  • Acknowledgment of land.
  • View past webinar recordings at
  • Introduction of the speakers:
    • Jon Meyer, Assistant State Climatologist, Utah Climate Center, Utah State University
    • Simon Wang, Professor of Climate, Utah State University



Current Conditions and Drought Outlook

Speaker: Jon Meyer | Utah Assistant State Climatologist, Utah Climate Center, Utah State University

  • Active and widespread monsoon rains have improved the regional short-term drought conditions.
  • Status quo remains for the region’s long-term drought concerns (neither reduced nor exacerbated).
  • Positives to start the 2023 Water Year:
    • Limited evaporative demand through fall transition.
    • Soil moisture is high leading to improved spring streamflow efficiency.
    • Winter agricultural drought pressures have relaxed in many areas of the Southwest.
  • Negatives looking forward:
    • Third year of lowered expectations for winter season snowpack.
    • Snowpack outlook is unlikely to begin meaningful drought improvements to groundwater and reservoirs.



Feasibility of Adding Twitter Data to Aid Drought Depiction

Speaker: Simon Wang | Professor of Climate, Utah State University

  • A sentiment analysis of Twitter data can lead to providing some indication of drought evolution in a region.
  • In a case study in Colorado’s 2020-2021 drought, sentiment analysis with a machine learning model successfully predicted the change in drought conditions a few weeks in advance.
  • Future work includes expanding this research to cover the western U.S.



Questions & Answers

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