The Western U.S. Drought: How Bad Is It?


Historical stream flow records and the forecast for 2004 make the current (1999–2004) drought in the southwestern United States the worst one in the past 80 years for portions of the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB).For the Colorado River (near Cisco, Utah), the cumulative stream flow deficit (departure from long‐term mean) for the current drought is almost 11 km8, or approximately 2 years of average stream flow Although the current drought is the most significant, based on historical stream flow records, is it the worst ever?

Piechota, T., Timilsena, J., Tootle, G., Hidalgo, H. (2004): The Western U.S. Drought: How Bad Is It? EOS, 85(32). DOI: