The Most Severe Drought to Hit the Southwest in Decades Worsens Weekly
The most severe drought to hit the Southwest U.S. in decades continues to grow even worse. Many are already comparing this current crisis to the disastrous Dust Bowl conditions of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
In Arizona, 97% of the state is in severe drought, with extremedrought now covering 73% of the state, which is up 10% in the last week; 16 % of Arizona is classified under exceptionaldrought, which is the worst drought category.
Amid a 21-year Southwest drought, the latest news comes as no surprise. This past winter brought very little rain and snow to Arizona — about 17 percent of normal in North Phoenix and similarly scarce totals elsewhere.
One of the starkest examples of the drought’s grip on the Southwest is the discovery of nearly 200 dead horses found in a stock pond in Gray Mountain, which is a Navajo Nation community in northern Arizona. The 191 dead horses typically consumed the pond’s water, but drier conditions made water scarce. Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said, “These animals were searching for water to stay alive. In the process, they, unfortunately, burrowed themselves into the mud and couldn’t escape because they were so weak.”
Meanwhile, this drought has been hitting farms really hard. Agricultural production is down dramatically and major rivers such as the Colorado River and the Rio Grande are drying up.
Temperatures on Memorial Day are expected to rise back up to the century mark in Phoenix and other parts of Arizona. In a climate where heat is an ongoing concern, dangerous wildfires are the region’s immediate threat, which has prompted the closure of some popular recreation spots.
Since we have yet to experience much in the way of rain this year, one can only imagine what the summer months will bring as our monsoon winds start to blow. If we don’t receive sufficient rainfall soon, the dust storms created by these winds will wreak havoc on our highways and in our cities, and affect the safety and health of Arizonans.
Pray with us that rain comes soon because conditions across our state could deteriorate rapidly without far-reaching precipitation in the forecast.
If I shut up the heavens so there is no rain…if my people pray, turn, repent…then I will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
- Heavenly Father, Giver of all life, You are the only One who can send rain to water our dry and thirsty land. We humble ourselves before You, and ask for Your help in our time of need.
- Dear Lord, we recognize that we, as individuals and as a nation, have failed You in so many ways and, therefore, don’t deserve Your grace and mercy. We have failed to love, honor and worship You as You so deserve. Please forgive us!
- God of heaven and earth, we call out to You. The rains have been withheld and our land is becoming like a dust bowl. Plants and animals are dying and the rivers are drying up. Have mercy on us!
- Oh, Lord, we ask You to protect our region in this vulnerable time when dry and brittle trees and foliage could become fuel for fires. We ask that You would send clouds filled with rain to saturate our land. You are the One Who poured out rain on the earth when Elijah prayed – and like him, we ask for rain to break our drought.
- Lord of the Harvest, we also are in desperate need of spiritual rain, a fresh outpouring of Your Holy Spirit, in our homes, churches, and schools. Open the windows of heaven, we pray, and pour out a revival flood and spiritual awakening that we might see a great harvest of souls.
- Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promise in Your word: “I will give you rain at the right time, the land will yield its produce, and the trees of the field will bear their fruit” (Lev. 26:4). So then, we call out to You to send the life-giving rains to refresh our land that we might thrive and be fruitful. With hearts of thanksgiving, we give You all the praise, honor, and glory due Your name. Amen.
- “Arizona Drought Worsens Weekly,” North Phoenix News, May 24, 2018.
- Jeff Beamish, “The Arizona Drought is Getting Worse,” KVOA.com, May 24, 2018.
- Anthony Perkins, “Drought Drives Critical Summer Wildfire Forecast,” Arizona Public Media/Southern Arizona’s PBS and NPR Affiliate, May 24, 2018.
- Catherine Holland, “Nearly 200 Wild Horses Found Dead Buried in Mud on Navajo Nation Land,” AZ.Family.com, May 5, 2018.
- Fox 10 News, “Fire Danger Prompts Forest Closures Across Arizona Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend,” UPDATED: May 25, 2018.