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2017 expected to be warmest year on record for Phoenix

PHOENIX — The holidays have come and gone, but it looks like Santa forgot to bring any rain or snow to Arizona this year.

According to Mark O’Malley with the National Weather Service, the entire state of Arizona is officially in a moderate drought, with some patches across the state in severe drought.

O’Malley said this is because there have only been a couple of storm systems in the state since the monsoon season ended — and the monsoon season ended early this year.

“There has only been one-tenth to a quarter-inch of rain in metro Phoenix,” he said. “We have not seen a lot of rain in four months now.”

Flagstaff and the rest of northern Arizona has not been spared from the drought. Flagstaff has not seen measurable snow this winter season, making it among the lightest snow seasons in the town’s history.

But that is not all, O’Malley added: Phoenix is expected to close out 2017 with a week full of 70-plus degree temperatures, all but ensuring that the year will be the warmest on record for the city.

“If you’re going to close out 2017, it might as well be like the rest of the year: Warmer than average.”

A dry and warm winter season could also cause more wildfires in the spring, he added.

“If there is no rain or snow in the next couple of weeks, the drought will become worse,” O’Malley said. “We’ll see what happens in the spring.”

KTAR News’ Jim Cross contributed to this report. 

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