While storms during the first week of January made a muddy mess of most of the state, soaking rains improved drought conditions substantially.
Chino Valley received .17 of an inch of rain on Jan. 5 and 6, and nearly a half inch on Jan. 7. That's an improvement over Jan. 2007, when Chino received only .47 inches the entire month. The community had 8.01 inches of rain for all of 2007, according to local weather observer Bob Tilman.
The US Drought Monitor, a partnership of the Joint Agricultural Weather Facility (U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Climate Prediction Center (U.S. Department of Commerce/NOAA/National Weather Service) and the National Climatic Data Center (DOC/NOAA), among others, publishes a weekly map outlining the level of drought in areas throughout the United States.
The recent storms, the monitor said, improved drought intensity levels by one category in northwestern Arizona. However, the forecast for the next two weeks calls for below-normal precipitation.
Most of central Yavapai County is in moderate, or D1, drought, according to the monitor. The northeast portion of the county one level below at abnormally dry (D0) and the far southwest portion is in severe drought (D2). Most of the southwest portion of the state is a step above last January, but the northern part of the state has improved as much as two steps, from extreme drought to abnormally dry.
Forecasts call for general improvement of drought conditions, particularly in southwest
Arizona, though March, largely due to storms in Southern California that will brush Arizona.
The US Drought Monitor updates its site each Thursday at