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Arizona’s warm January doesn’t mean unusually hot summer coming

LISTEN: Randy Cerveny, Arizona State University professor of geographical sciences

PHOENIX — A weather expert said January temperatures in the 80s do not mean Arizona is poised for a hotter-than-normal summer.

“[It’s] definitely been unusually warm here,” Arizona State University Professor Randy Cerveny told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Wednesday.

“Fortunately for us, there’s not a lot of relationship between what goes on in the winter and what goes on in the summer,” said Cerveny, who directs the meteorology program at ASU.

Cerveny said that normally at this time of year, at least one or two storm systems will come through California and make their way to Arizona but we have not seen that this month.

“In the forseeable future, there’s not really any big chance for storms to come through,” he said.

Despite the lack of connection between winter and summer months, the heat and dry conditions of the state may lead to a more dangerous fire season.

“Without precipitation, the vegetation is going to dry out and we’re probably going to have a much worse fire season in the spring and in the summer than we normally do, which is bad already,” Cerveny said.

And it doesn’t look like things are going to get better.

“Unfortunately, the long-term prognosis right now is that things are going to stay pretty much what we have right now,” he said.

Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes

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