A return of La Nina, which historically delivers dry conditions, is increasingly likely, according to scientists.
Blame it on La Niña.
Pushing the jet stream and the storms it carried north of the region, La Niña played a starring role in a record-dry winter in the Southwest this past year.
The lack of rain and snow led to extensive fires in Arizona and New Mexico, skimpy irrigation allotments and withered vegetation in the spring. Now mounting evidence suggests that after a brief summer hiatus La Niña may be back.
This would not be welcome news for most of the Southwest, and especially those areas mired in extreme and exceptional drought, particularly since the second year in back-to-back La Niña events is often drier than the first.