Recent Rains

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Recent rains have alleviated drought conditions in Arizona, and more rain is expected. Phoenix National Weather Service Meteorologist Ken Waters will tell us more.

TED SIMONS: RECENT RAINS HAVE HELPED EASE DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN ARIZONA. WE ARE EXPECTING MORE RAIN LATER THIS WEEK. HERE TO TALK ABOUT WHAT SEEMS TO BE A WINTER BOUNTY OF RAIN IS METEOROLOGIST KEN WATERS OF THE PHOENIX NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. THERE HE IS. HOW ARE YOU DOING? GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. WE HAVE SEVERAL STORMS READY TO ROLL IN AGAIN LATER IN THE WEEK, HUH?

KEN WATERS: YES, WE DO. WE HAVE HAD A SMATTERING OF STORMS OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS. BUT, A LOT MORE COMING IN. AND I WOULD ALMOST CALL IT A BIT OF AN ATMOSPHERIC RIVER WHERE CALIFORNIA HAS BEEN GETTING A LOT OF THESE BUT WE ARE GOING TO GET OUR OWN VERSION OF IT HERE. ESPECIALLY WITH THE SECOND STORM COMING THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY.

TED SIMONS: SECOND STORM COMING. WHEN IS THE FIRST STORM COMING?

KEN WATERS: THURSDAY AFTERNOON INTO THURSDAY NIGHT. SECOND ONE IS FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY.

TED SIMONS: HOLY SMOKES LIKE AN INCH OF RAIN HERE?

KEN WATERS: YEAH. THE FIRST STORM MAYBE ABOUT A QUARTER OF AN INCH TO A THIRD OF AN INCH IN THE PHOENIX AREA. THE SECOND STORM WE COULD EASILY SEE AN INCH OF RAIN IN SOME OF THE SPOTS. AND MUCH MORE UP IN THE HIGHER TERRAIN TO THE EAST.

TED SIMONS: OKAY. WE WERE EXPECTING A LOT OF RAIN LAST WINTER.

KEN WATERS: YES.

TED SIMONS: DIDN'T GET IT. IT WAS EL NINO EL BUSTO. THIS IS LA NINA. WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING A LOT OF RAIN FOR EL NINA. WE CAN'T SEEM TO FIND A SUNNY DAY. WHAT'S GOING ON?

KEN WATERS: WELL, FIRST OFF, I'M ALWAYS HESITANT TO CORRELATE TOO MUCH RAINFALL PROJECTIONS OFF OF EL NINO LA NINA. LAST YEAR YES WE HAD EL NINO BUT IT WAS BASICALLY ONE WEEK OF EL NINO IF YOU WILL AS FAR AS EFFECT IN ARIZONA. ONE WEEK OF HEAVY RAIN AND THEN THINGS JUST KIND OF FELL OUT FROM THERE. RIGHT NOW, WE'RE JUST BARELY IN LA NINA. REAL WEAK, REAL NEUTRAL TYPE CONDITIONS. SO I DON'T WANT TOO PUT MUCH ON RAINFALL PROJECTIONS ONTO THAT.

TED SIMONS: WHAT KIND OF RAINFALL PROJECTIONS DO YOU SEE?

KEN WATERS: WELL FOR THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS WE COULD EASILY SEE ONE AND A HALF INCHES IN PHOENIX. GOOD PRODUCTIVE KIND OF RAIN IN THE FACT THAT IT DOESN'T COME ALL AT ONCE.

TED SIMONS: WE GET SNOW UP THERE.

KEN WATERS: YEAH. LOOKING AT PRETTY GOOD TOTALS AROUND THE RIM. EASILY A FOOT OF SNOW. SOME AREAS MAYBE EVEN 18 INCHES.

TED SIMONS: 5,000-FOOT MARK? IS THAT THE DIVIDING LINE.

KEN WATERS: THAT'S WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT. 5,000, 5500. GOING TO GO DOWN WITH THE LATER SYSTEM. WE HAVE A THIRD SYSTEM COMING UP EARLY NEXT WEEK. WE ARE GOING TO GET IN THIS PATTERN HERE.

TED SIMONS: TALK ABOUT THE PATTERN FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS, WHAT DO YOU SEE OUT THERE?

KEN WATERS: YEAH. THIS IS LIKE, I WOULD CALL IT A NORMAL WINTER. I MEAN, WE HAVEN'T HAD A LOT OF THESE LATELY. IT'S BEEN DRY. LAST YEAR, YOU KNOW, SKY HARBOR WAS LIKE 2 INCHES BELOW NORMAL FOR THE WHOLE YEAR.

TED SIMONS: YES.

KEN WATERS: THIS IS ALL GOOD. YOU KNOW, WE ARE GOING TO BE GETTING THIS PATTERN HERE FOR AT LEAST A FEW WEEKS.

TED SIMONS: OKAY. I KNOW YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT TOO MUCH STOCK INTO THE NINA/NINO BUSINESS. BUT IS GLOBAL WARMING ROCKING THOSE KIND OF DYNAMICS AROUND. DOES GLOBAL WARMING MEAN EL NINO IS NOT THE SAME AS WHAT IT USED TO BE AND SAME WITH LA NINA?

KEN WATERS: THERE IS NOT TOO MUCH INFORMATION ON THAT. WE ARE STILL LEARNING ABOUT EL NINO. WE HAVE HAD SOME GOOD CLASSIC, SO-CALLED CLASSIC EL NINO EVENTS. ESPECIALLY IN CALIFORNIA. HERE IN ARIZONA, WE DON'T SEE THE EFFECTS QUITE AS MUCH. SO, WE EXPECTED A LOT OF RAIN LAST WINTER. WE JUST DIDN'T GET IT BECAUSE A LOT OF IT GOT SHOVED FURTHER UP TO THE NORTH LIKE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. FRANKLY THEY NEED IT. DROUGHT HAS IMPROVED DRAMATICALLY ACROSS THE STATE.

TED SIMONS: TALK ABOUT THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN ARIZONA. THREE WEEKS AGO, 45% OF THE STATE WAS STILL UNDER DROUGHT CONDITIONS. WHAT ARE WE AT NOW?

KEN WATERS: YEAH. WE ARE DOING A LITTLE BIT BETTER. IT'S A VERY SLOW, GRADUAL IMPROVEMENT. WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO IMPROVE ON THE DROUGHT IS A LOT OF SNOW PACK. BECAUSE THAT'S SORT OF LIKE A STORAGE, IF YOU WILL, THE BATTERY CELLS OR WHATEVER, CHARGING THEM BACK UP. IT'S LONG TERM AND IT HELPS TO REFRESH THE WATER TABLE A LOT. SO, WE'RE VERY HOPEFUL THESE NEXT COUPLE SYSTEMS THAT ARE COMING THROUGH ARE GOING TO HELP THAT.

TED SIMONS: I HAVE READ LIKE 45% EXPERIENCING DROUGHT THREE WEEKS AGO, 25% NOW. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

KEN WATERS: YEAH. IT'S -- THERE IS STILL SOME POCKETS THAT ARE, YOU KNOW, IN A DROUGHT, ESPECIALLY LIKE YUMA COUNTY. BUT LIKE NORTHWEST PART OF ARIZONA IS LOOKING REALLY GOOD AND THEY ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF THE DROUGHT.

TED SIMONS: INTERESTING ALONG THE COLORADO RIVER UP NORTH EVERYTHING IS FINE. DOWN SOUTH NOT SO MUCH. REST OF THE STATE DOING BETTER.

KEN WATERS: SLOWLY IMPROVING.

TED SIMONS: NORTHERN CALIFORNIA THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR SAYS NO MORE DROUGHT?

KEN WATERS: I KNOW. THAT'S A DRAMATIC CHANGE BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, JUST A YEAR AGO MOST OF THE STATE WAS UNDER AN EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITION. THEY HAVE HAD SO MUCH OF THESE -- I MENTIONED ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS. THEY HAVE HAD SO MUCH OF THESE KIND OF EVENTS THAT IT'S REALLY INCREASED THE STORAGE IN THE RESERVOIRS. SNOW PACK IS HUGE IN THE SIERRAS RIGHT NOW.

TED SIMONS: 8 FEET AT MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN?

KEN WATERS: YES. NOW WE ARE WAITING FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. IT IS STILL IN A PRETTY STRONG DROUGHT. BUT THERE IS A LOT OF HOPE THAT MAYBE THESE SYSTEMS ARE COMING THROUGH HERE IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS ARE GOING TO HELP TO IMPROVE THAT SITUATION.

TED SIMONS: OKAY. SO AS FAR AS THE REST OF THE WINTER FOR ARIZONA, YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TOO FAR OUT THERE BUT FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS OR SO EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME.

KEN WATERS: YEAH. WE'RE GOING TO BE IN KIND OF A WET TYPE PATTERN WHERE WE HAVE MULTIPLE SYSTEMS COMING THROUGH AND WE WILL TAKE IT.

TED SIMONS: NO KIDDING WE WILL TAKE IT. GOOD INFORMATION. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

KEN WATERS: THANKS, TED.
 

Ken Waters: Phoenix National Weather Service Meteorologist

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