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A recently released report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that in June Arizona was particularly dry, with the majority of the state experiencing severe to extreme drought.

However, experts say a good monsoon could ease the conditions.

"The expectation is that we're going to see, in general, wet places in wet seasons trending wetter and dry places in dry seasons get drier," said Deke Arndt, chief of NOAA's Climate Monitoring branch. "In the Southwest, we are seeing dry seasons get drier and increased drought both in observations and expectations."

Arizona experienced the third-driest June on record, according to NOAA, which began recording in 1985. Precipitation was much below average for the month, and temperatures were above average, according to the report.

For the past year, "dryness dominated the far West, the southern Plains to Midwest, and southern New England, with pockets of wetness in most of the dry areas," said the report, which was released last week. Arizona, along with California, ranked in the top 10 for having the warmest climates in the past 12 months.

Between July 2013 and June of this year, the average temperature in Arizona was 61.5 degrees, 1.2 degrees higher than the historical average.

Arndt said one of the biggest challenges for the Southwest is the lack of snowfall and frozen reservoirs, which becomes a significant source of moisture during the warmer months.

The next big opportunity for the western United States to recover from drought is to have a strong monsoon, he said. "Drought is not something you bounce in and out of quickly," he said.

The Southwest Climate Outlook report, published last week by the Climate Assessment for the Southwest, or CLIMAS, a University of Arizona research program, said that since mid-January, most of Arizona had less than 50 percent of average precipitation.

"One-hundred percent of the state is under some level of drought," said Michael Crimmins, a researcher at CLIMAS and an extension specialist in climate science at UA.

Seventy-two percent of Arizona is experiencing severe to extreme drought, the NOAA report showed.

But the current monsoon may help alleviate some of the drought concerns, at least for a short period, Crimmins added. Starting in early July, many parts of Arizona experienced frequent rains over fairly large areas.

In the next two months, Arizona is expected to have an average to above-average monsoon 

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