ARIZONA NEWS

Will metro Phoenix see a repeat of last year’s brutal summer weather?

Apr 30, 2024, 4:35 AM

PHOENIX – Will Phoenix-area residents have to endure a repeat of 2023’s brutal summer?

“Well, we never know until we get a little bit closer,” Erinanne Saffell, director of the Arizona State Climate Office, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

While it might be too soon to tell, the early Phoenix summer weather forecast isn’t promising if you were hoping for more moderate conditions this summer.

The National Weather Service’s seasonal temperature outlook for June-August, which was updated April 18, indicates chances ranging from 33% to 60% for above-normal temperatures across Arizona.

In fact, the chance for above-normal temperatures for the summer’s hottest months was over 50% for about half the state, including central and northeastern Arizona.

What is the forecast for rain in Arizona this summer?

In addition, more than half the state has a 33-40% chance of below-normal precipitation, according to the seasonal precipitation outlook for June-August.

“I don’t want to put too much into what we’re seeing right now because it is wobbly when looking at these kind of longer forecasts, looking at what would happen for the monsoon season,” Saffell said.

Rainfall helps keeps temperatures in the normal range, and last year’s lack of precipitation was a key factor in the Phoenix area’s relentless summer heat wave.

“We need to bring that moisture in, and that just never happened last summer. We had that ridge of high pressure that kind of stuck over the Southwest, and that prevented getting that moisture coming in. … We need to get those thunderstorms then to start cooling us off,” Saffell said.

How dry was the Phoenix summer last year?

The monsoon season runs from June 15 to Sept. 30, and last year’s was the driest on record. Only .15 inches of rain fell at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which the National Weather Service uses for the city’s official readings. The previous record was .35 inches in 1924.

Phoenix wound up breaking 19 daily heat records in 2023. The city had 133 days reaching 100 degrees and 55 days of at least 110 degrees, including a record 31-day streak from June 30 to July 30.

“We usually don’t have extreme conditions back-to-back. We can have dry summers back-to-back, but that was pretty extreme last summer, and so hopefully we’re not going to do that again,” Saffell said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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Will metro Phoenix see a repeat of last year’s brutal summer weather?