Drought persists in Colorado River Basin’s Four Corner states

Arizona desert - drought expected to continue
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  • Drought grips the West, snowpack remains low.
  • Northern Rockies, Four Corners states hardest hit.
  • Late-season storms may alleviate drought in some areas.
  • Drought expansion possible in the north, Texas.

March 6, 2024 — Despite recent storms, drought remains a problem in the Western United States, particularly in the Colorado River Basin states. The March 2024 Drought Outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center paints a mixed picture. While storms may provide some relief, the Basin’s water woes are far from over.

During February, a series of atmospheric river events delivered a large amount of moisture to portions of California and the Great Basin, easing drought conditions there, though snowpack conditions remain well below average across the far southern Sierra Nevadas.

The worst drought conditions persist in the northern Rockies and the Four Corners region (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado). Snowpack, a vital water source, is significantly below average. This lack of snow will strain water resources throughout the spring and summer months.

March 2024 drought outlook map
Drought Outlook for March 2024 from National Weather Service Climate Prediction CenterOpens in a new tab.

Late-season storms are expected to bring precipitation to the West Coast and some western ranges.

While these storms could provide temporary relief, many areas of the West face the possibility of further drought development. Northern Montana and parts of Texas remain particularly vulnerable. However, the Great Plains may see some drought improvement with forecasts calling for above-normal precipitation.

The information from the National Weather Service appears to conflict with the Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) reports earlier this week.  The next Climate Prediction Center report is scheduled for March 31.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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