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Southwest Drought Briefing: September 13, 2022

Event Date
September 13, 2022
Event Time
1:00 pm - 1:35 pm

The Southwest is in continuing drought. Recent summer rains have improved but not removed drought from the Southwest. This webinar will look at current and forecast drought conditions for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. Despite a wet summer, the Great Salt Lake has hit a historic, all-time low water level; this webinar will also look at the recently released Great Salt Lake Hydro Mapper tool developed by USGS and State of Utah.

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


Welcome to the Southwest Drought Update

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

  • Welcome to the September 2022 Southwest Drought Briefing. 
  • Learn more about the Southwest Drought Learning Network.
  • Acknowledgment of land.
  • View past webinar recordings at
  • Introduction of the speakers:
    • Peter Goble, Colorado Climate Center Climatologist and Water Availability Specialist; Colorado CoCoRaHS Coordinator
    • Christine Rumsey, USGS Utah Water Science Center



Current Conditions and Drought Outlook

Speaker: Peter Goble | Colorado Climate Center Climatologist and Water Availability Specialist, Colorado CoCoRaHS Coordinator

  • The Southwest has seen some drought recovery over the last several months. Pockets of drought-free areas are now seen throughout the region.
  • Long-term drought persists. The Southwest saw its third straight year of below-normal snowpack. Seasonal streamflow volumes were also lowered by dry antecedent soil conditions and a dry spring.
  • Reservoir storage is a serious long-term issue for the Southwest U.S.
  • Given La Niña is expected to continue, the Southwest has elevated odds of a dry fall and winter, potentially leading to a fourth straight low runoff year (but uncertainty abounds).



U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Salt Lake Monitoring and Hydro Mapper Tool

Speaker: Christine Rumsey | USGS Utah Water Science Center

  • The Great Salt Lake is currently at the lowest level since observations began in 1847.
    • The Great Salt Lake is currently at 4,189.1 feet (above sea level). This is over a foot below the previous record low point in October 2021
  • The Great Salt Lake Hydro Mapper tool provides an integration of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data on the Great Salt Lake.



Questions & Answers

Speaker: Emile Elias | Director, USDA Southwest Climate Hub