Dry Conditions to Continue Through March
Temperatures throughout the West and Southwest were cooler than average during December, with some areas reporting temperatures 6-10 degrees F below normal, according to the December State of the Climate from NOAA. Most of Texas was wetter than average, improving drought conditions in the northern part of the state. However, dry conditions remain in the western portion of the state, and although December was wet in some areas, 2011 was overall the driest year ever for Texas, with only 14.89 inches of precipitation observed across the state.
Most of Arizona and New Mexico were also much wetter than average, substantially improving drought conditions in both states, according to the January La Niña Drought Tracker from CLIMAS. These conditions are not typical of a La Niña state in the tropical Pacific, and drier than average conditions are predicted through March, thus drought conditions are likely to intensify in both states.