PHOENIX — Another tropical storm forecast to move through the state this week could be indicative of a wet winter in Arizona.
James Quinones, a meteorologist with 12 News, said he predicted storms to bring more rain to the Valley as early as Tuesday evening.
“We have a tropical storm, Simon, that’s going to break up before it gets here,” he said. “But it’s going to throw lots of moisture back into the same places the last two storms did.”
The National Weather Service said Simon will up the chance of rain to at least 50 percent through Wednesday.
“A good chance for rain and maybe even embedded thunderstorms developing starting during the day Tuesday,” said Chris Breckenridge with the NWS. “The rain chances will be increasing later on in the day Tuesday, becoming best chances Tuesday night into Wednesday.”
Breckenridge said more than an inch of rain could fall in some areas.
Quinones said it is unusual for the state to see storms this late in the year.
“Typically, most of our rain ends by mid-September and we really start to dry out, especially in toward October,” he said. “This is not very typical for this time of year.”
Warm waters off the coast of South America caused by El Niño are pushing hurricanes and tropical storms toward Arizona, Quinones said and are the driving factor behind continued rainfall.
“Typically with an El Niño year it pushes that moisture mainly into the southwest and that’s what we’ve been seeing,” he said. “It’s a mild El Niño and it is still developing but it has been taking all these storms and pushing them into Arizona.”
That means the state is in for a wetter than normal winter.
“With the El Niño predicted, it tends to pick up especially around December (and) January and February of next year,” Quinones said.
Arizona has already seen more than its fair share of rain this year. The 2014 monsoon dropped a total of 6.34 inches of precipitation fall at Phoenix Sky Harbor and more than a foot in some smaller towns.
KTAR’s Mark Remillard and Clayton Klapper contributed to this report.