ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix sees coolest temperatures in 25 years, Flagstaff sets wettest March record

Apr 3, 2023, 4:25 AM | Updated: 8:17 am

PHOENIX — If you think it has seemed a bit cooler in the Phoenix metro area so far in 2023, it is not just wishful thinking.

According to the National Weather Service, the first three months of 2023 are the coolest since it was matched at 57.6 degrees in 1998. Even better, there has been almost one-half inch more rain.

When looking at March alone, Phoenix experienced the lowest average high, low and mean temperatures, besting the normal temperature ranges from 1991-2020. With 1.47 inches of rain in March, Phoenix exceeded the normal by .64 inches.

Flagstaff not only experienced above-average precipitation, the city’s Pulliam Airport recorded the wettest March since records have been documented, beating the next wettest March in 1970 by more than a one-half inch.

This week, cold temperatures are expected to continue in Phoenix before warming again after Wednesday.

According to NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook, for the remainder of the spring, below-average precipitation is most likely for the Southwest and parts of the Pacific Northwest.

The abnormally wet winter, though, will further improve drought conditions across much of the western U.S. as the snowpack melts in the coming months. Winter precipitation, combined with recent storms, wiped out exceptional and extreme drought in California for the first time since 2020, and is expected to further improve drought conditions this spring.

“Climate change is driving both wet and dry extremes, as illustrated by NOAA’s observations and data that inform this seasonal outlook,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a press release.

On March 9, NOAA forecasters declared La Nina over. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a climate pattern, based on changes in rainfall and sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, that influences temperature and precipitation around the world. La Nina occurs when ocean temperatures are cooler than normal and rainfall is reduced in the eastern to central Pacific Ocean.

“La Nina has finally ended after being in place nearly continuously for more than two years,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief of the operational prediction branch at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.

Spring snowmelt will bring welcomed water supply benefits to much of California and the Great Basin. Reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin, such as Lake Powell and Lake Mead, are currently at record low water levels following years of drought.

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Phoenix sees coolest temperatures in 25 years, Flagstaff sets wettest March record