It was a hot summer. Really hot. Arizona broke a number of records for high temperatures and there was little rain from the monsoon to cool things off.
ASU Climatologist Randy Cerveny explained why it was such a rough summer and what Arizonans can expect this fall and winter.
“Most of the Southwest has been under the influence of this [weather],” Cerveny said, “because the primary control all summer has been…a very intense, high pressure system. And that’s prevented any kind of storm activity.”
With no hurricanes occurring off the coast of Mexico, combined with the high pressure system, it has created a very hot and dry summer for Arizonans–one that is record-breaking.
“With 144 days now of 100+ temperatures, it’s just been incredible,” Cerveny said.
Phoenix is not the only city setting records. Las Vegas, Tucson and Yuma all set record temperatures this summer. Cerveny emphasized that this is a regional pattern that will only continue in the coming months.
“Unfortunately it is going to become more intense as we go into the fall,” Cerveny said. “If we look at precipitation for the fall, what we’re going to see is that we are dry. We’re just bone dry for the fall, probably even going on into the wintertime.”
Cerveny explained that the West will not see any form of precipitation unless people go up to the Northwest. He predicts a fire season will arise like Colorado due to the lack of moisture from La Niña.
“If we don’t have storms, we’re not gonna have clouds. If we don’t have clouds, that’s gonna allow more sun to come in, and so all of these things are kind of interrelated,” Cerveny said. “The two words that are going to describe us all the way until next March are hot and dry.”
Some scientists predict that we are moving into a mega-drought for the next decade. However, Cerveny believes that next summer should be better precipitation-wise.