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Climatologist: New round of storms could jump start El Nino in Arizona

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

PHOENIX — A new round of storms in next week’s forecast could jump start El Nino in Arizona, a climate expert said.

Things have been fairly quiet weather-wise since the state was pounded by storms earlier this month. University of Arizona climate expert Mike Crimmins said he expects El Nino moisture levels to return to Arizona with the incoming storms.

“Rain chances next week are certainly a little bit of that signal (El Nino) coming back into the picture,” he said.

Crimmins said, if next week’s storms fail to have an impact, there’s still at least two months of potentially rainy weather to look forward to.

“March and April still could be busy,” he said. “We’ll see how things shake out over the long run.”

While things have been dry in Arizona lately, Crimmins said the East Coast can thank El Nino for the past weekend’s huge storm that killed multiple people, crippled transportation and knocked out power to thousands.

“That blizzard was certainly related to the El Nino pattern,” he said.

The heavy rains that brought a half-inch of rain to Phoenix and several feet of snow to Flagstaff and surrounding areas led one climatologist to say the Valley of the Sun will resemble Seattle as the weather pattern continues.

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