Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some Local Weather Records

Not to confuse "weather" with "climate", but a look at the numbers for 2009 reveals some disturbing trends:

In addition to having one of the driest years on record, Flagstaff and northern Arizona set some other records in 2009.

-- Flagstaff had the longest growing season on record, due to a span of 153 consecutive days between April 30 and Oct. 1 when it didn't freeze. Typically, the last freeze hits Flagstaff on June 10, and the first freeze of fall is Sept. 21, according to National Weather Service records.

-- Flagstaff had the second-driest monsoon season on record; Bellemont had the driest; Page had the sixth-driest.

-- In 14 of 17 communities, from Ganado and Tuba City to Flagstaff and Williams, average highs and lows for the entire year ranged from a fraction of a degree to 3 degrees warmer than normal, according to data by the Weather Service. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon was neutral -- neither hotter nor colder than average.

-- Flagstaff's hottest temperature for the year was 93 degrees on July 17; its coldest was 6 degrees below zero on Dec. 25.


In brief, it was really dry. Despite last month's blizzard. Unless we have a really wet spring, the summer wildfire season is going to be very scary. So the forecast for snow most of next week is actually a good thing, even if I'm personally sick of winter.


Lockwood said...

I would have never guessed that last freeze in Flagstaff was that late. Must be the elevation combined with the arid climate. I saw a piece earlier saying that analysts were estimating only a one-in-five chance that there would be enough water to bump up Lake Mead, which has been at record low levels for some time now. How long has this Az drought been going on? I sort of figured that the el nino this year might give you all some precipitation.

pygalgia said...

How long? Depends how you count it, but only 2 of the past 12 years had average/above average precipitation, so it's been a while. As for the last freeze, in '95 we had snow (not a lot, but enough to stick) on the 4th of July. Makes for tough gardening.