Arizona’s Foul Weather Is A Fair Approximation Of What It Should Be
"We've never had weather like this before," is a common refrain among Phoenicians, but there's nothing very unusual about Arizona's recent rain and cold.
After a slow start, a weak El Niño finally has kicked into gear, and California storms combined with warmer moisture from the subtropics have brought the state a little extra precipitation.
But overall, Arizona is on track for where it should be this time of year, says state climatologist Nancy Selover of Arizona State University.
"No, this isn't unusual. I mean, it's unusual in the past because we've been in drought, we haven't seen this very often but, for the longer term, it's not an unusual pattern at all."
Beyond the flooding and mudslides lies a silver lining: The precipitation has relieved the short-term drought in northern Arizona and the Four Corners area.
Moreover, as weather warms, wet soil underlying snow pack will encourage meltwater to fill lakes, streams and reservoirs instead of soaking into the ground.