Drier, warmer winter expected in Arizona this year with La Nina conditions
PHOENIX — The Valley had a relatively cool and wetter-than-normal summer, but it appears the opposite could occur for the winter months.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, recently released the U.S. Winter Outlook that noted La Nina climate conditions have emerged for the second consecutive year.
“This La Nina pattern that we’re looking at, we typically see drier and warmer conditions here,” Isaac Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.
The winter temperature outlook holds a 40%-50% chance Arizona has above normal temperatures, with the same percentage for below normal precipitation chances.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the Valley will be dry this winter.
“We’ve seen relatively wetter-than-normal La Ninas in the past here, so it’s not completely out of the question that we could see more rain,” Smith said. “But overall the general trend typically is that we see drier and warmer conditions with these patterns.”
The monsoon season had 23 days of rainfall this year, which ranked second behind 24 days in 1896 when record-keeping began.
Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport received 4.20 inches of rain during the monsoon season, the most since 6.34 inches fell in 2014 and third-most in the past two decades. The average rainfall in Phoenix during the monsoon season is 2.43 inches.
Rainy weather also kept temperatures lower during the summer.
The Valley only had 104 days of a high temperature above 100 degrees this year, below the recent historical average of 111 days and a far cry from 2020 that had a record 145 days.
October was also much cooler this year than last, with an average temperature of 74.8 degrees compared to 80.9 degrees in 2020.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.