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Despite recording-breaking rain, southern Arizona still in drought

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Posted at 12:12 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 15:23:59-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The past several weeks have felt downright tropical in Tucson. Monsoon 2021 is already our third wettest on record, with weeks still to go for more rainfall.

With all the moisture falling over southern Arizona these past few months, we've surely rocketed out of drought conditions, right? Not quite.

While conditions have significantly improved since June, the U.S. Drought Monitor still considers most of southern Arizona to be in "moderate" or "severe" drought conditions as of Aug. 10. Virtually all of the state is still experiencing some level of drought.

FULL SECTION: Drought, Water Coverage

Comparing drought conditions in Arizona - June 1, 2021 to Aug. 10, 2021.

Comparing drought conditions in Arizona - June 1, 2021 to Aug. 10, 2021 (credit: U.S. Drought Monitor).

Comparing drought conditions in southern Arizona - June 1, 2021 to Aug. 10, 2021.

Comparing drought conditions in southern Arizona - June 1, 2021 to Aug. 10, 2021 (credit: U.S. Drought Monitor).

While Arizona's drought conditions have improved with monsoon rainfall, other Western states like California have only gotten worse.

Comparing drought conditions in Western states - June 1, 2021 to Aug. 10, 2021.

Comparing drought conditions in Western states - June 1, 2021 to Aug. 10, 2021 (credit: U.S. Drought Monitor).

RELATED: Some California officials are calling the latest drought 'unprecedented'

The latest conditions from the U.S. Drought Monitor show just how deep the southwest's rainfall debt is after record-dry conditions in 2020.

And that's still to say nothing of the so-called decades-long "mega-drought" still persisting in the western U.S. To get out of that, the region would need multiple years of record rainfall or, better yet, years of record snowpack in the Rocky Mountains. Climate experts say that's not likely to happen.