Wetter-than-normal season eradicates extreme drought in Arizona
PHOENIX – The heavy rain and snow across Arizona in recent months may have been inconvenient in times, but the state will benefit from it.
“One of the nice things is that we are definitely getting out of the drought. The latest drought summary shows that we don’t have any extreme drought conditions in the state,” Arizona State University climatologist Randy Cerveny told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.
“We still have a little bit of drought up in the northeast, but extreme drought is no longer part of the state.”
Cerveny said the rainfall in Phoenix since October has doubled normal totals, something he called “just amazing.”
Another benefit of the statewide precipitation is that it will reduce the threat of wildfires in the northern Arizona in the coming months.
“We’ve got that nice snow cover up there, and that’s always a really good thing because it slowly percolates into the soil and keeps that soil moist throughout most of the springtime here,” he said.
There have been several productive winter storms this winter, including one that produced nearly 3 feet of snow in Flagstaff on Feb. 21, breaking a 104-year-old single-day record for the city.
“We’ve had some warmer temperatures since that storm,” Travis Kolling of the Arizona Natural Resources Conservation Service told KTAR News on Thursday. “That’s melted of a lot of that lower snowpack.
“But high up in the mountains there’s still a considerable snowpack.”
All that snowfall also will be a boon to water supplies in other parts of the state, Cerveny said.
“Most of the water that we need to use throughout the summertime is what falls on the rim in terms of snow,” he said.
“While we’ve been getting nice rains here in the Valley, also they’ve been getting good snows up on the rim, and that’s exactly what we need to have.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.