Tucson monsoon: Despite rain, drought persists

2012-07-25T15:00:00Z 2012-07-25T15:01:36Z Tucson monsoon: Despite rain, drought persistsKori Rumore / Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Monsoon's rainy first month brought rain, lightning and cooler temps, but severe-to-extreme drought remains a concern in 94 percent of Arizona.

Between June 19 and July 19, Tucson International Airport received slightly more than 3.50 inches of rain. According to its July Southwest Climate Outlook, however, CLIMAS (Climate Assessment for the Southwest) at the University of Arizona concludes rain has been spotty and just not enough to change the state's drought conditions.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared all of Arizona a natural-disaster area for the 10th time in the past 13 years due to continuing drought. The declaration makes the state's farmers eligible for low-interest loans to help them cope with damaged crops, and aid to buy additional feed for livestock.

Any relief in sight?

The report notes the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center predicts above-average rainfall in August, September and October.

El Niño, which could also bring increased chances of precipitation to the area, has yet to form in the Pacific Ocean. A watch is in effect, however, which means conditions are favorable for El Niño development in the next six months.

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