The updates presented at the May 13, 2014 meeting confirmed that Arizona remains in long-term drought with projections for warmer temperatures. Key points include the following:
- We have now finished our fourth consecutive dry winter within the state watersheds and the third consecutive dry winter in the Colorado River Basin. The entire state except for the far southwestern edge continues to be in some level of drought, ranging from abnormally dry to severe.
- The summer monsoon was wetter than normal and wet conditions occurred in November and December. However, warmer than normal late winter temperatures along with dry and windy conditions led to deterioration of all watersheds except the Lower Colorado.
- Reservoir levels in all the watersheds are near or below 50% of capacity. It is projected that Lake Powell and Lake Mead storage will generally decline through 2016. The Colorado River Basin is experiencing a 14-year drought that is the driest in the historical record dating back to 1906. This is the fourth year that the Salt and Verde watershed experienced below median winter runoff. While communities in some areas of the state are facing water shortages, the major metropolitan areas are not facing immediate water crises.
- An analysis of drought conditions, fine fuels, weather patterns and the monsoon outlook suggests above normal fire season potential and an earlier onset, especially in the southern and eastern brushlands.
- The 2014 summer outlook's odds favor above normal temperatures. The outlook also has very slightly enhanced odds for above-average precipitation, but there is no way to estimate monsoon precipitation.
Based on this information, the ICG unanimously recommended that both drought declarations be kept in place:
May 2014 Drought ICG Recommendation Letter to the Governor