LB - Yavapai College 0523 Industrial Machine 728x90

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : regional May 24, 2016

2/9/2012 7:58:00 AM
Drought returns to the Verde Valley
Winter runoff, which typically keeps non-perennial streams in the valley flowing through the winter months, has dropped off the last two years, leaving some stretches, like this stretch of Beaver Creek, looking more like they would in late summer, minus the leaves.
Winter runoff, which typically keeps non-perennial streams in the valley flowing through the winter months, has dropped off the last two years, leaving some stretches, like this stretch of Beaver Creek, looking more like they would in late summer, minus the leaves.

Steve Ayers
Staff Reporter

Do you remember New Year's Day 2011?

In case you forgot, it was cold. Cottonwood set an all-time record low temperature for the date when the temperature dropped to -3 degrees Fahrenheit.

It was just the beginning.

On the same day that Punxsutawney Phil was looking for his shadow, it turned 6 degrees in Camp Verde, another record, and highs for the day barely returned to freezing. Numerous Northern Arizona communities experienced some of their coldest high temperatures ever, including Flagstaff and Prescott.

A huge rain and snowstorm swept across the state Feb. 19-20, dumping almost four feet of snow at the Snowbowl.

Then, on May 29, winds were clocked at nearly 70 mph at Two Guns the Navaho Reservation, and a persistent trough of low pressure forced the National Weather Service to issue wind advisories for most of June, across the north half of the state.

And then there was August -- a damn hot August. Readings from a National Weather Service thermometer in Oak Creek showed that it was the hottest August on record in the canyon.

Flagstaff and Prescott recorded their second hottest August on record. For Payson it was their third hottest.

For much of Northern Arizona 2011 was a year of weather extremes. And if the National Weather Service is right, 2012 may offer more of the same, albeit more related to lack of weather.

"For all the wild weather we had last year, the thing that is of most interest to me this year, in our part of the world, is moisture," says George Howard, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.

For all the high winds and low temperatures, Howard says it is moisture, too little or too much, that makes things interesting in the Verde valley.

"If you look at 2011 in the Verde Valley, for the most part, drought was the big news. Most places along the river only picked up 65 to 80 percent of normal precipitation. The summer monsoon was about normal in the valley but winter precipitation was below average

Average yearly precipitation in the Verde Valley is 8-11 inches, according to Howard. Monsoon rainfall averages about 5 to 6 inches.

Last year, Howard notes, there was a "borderline" La Niña weather pattern, a phenomenon where below average surface water temperatures in the east central Pacific Ocean drive winter storms north of the state.

"We had a weak one last year. The bad part is we've fired up another one this year that is actually stronger than last year's.

"While last fall started out kind of nice as far as precipitation, since a week before Christmas things have been pretty dry. We are once again in a deficit and it doesn't look like things are gong to get particularly better," says Howard.

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter in 2012, but, according to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, from here on out expect above average temperatures and below average precipitation.

Taylor Waste

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Police soon will have one more reason to pull you over (4332 views)

•   'A Great Celebration' -- Mingus seniors prepare for graduation, commemorate scholarships and awards (3523 views)

•   Dowling steps down; Cottonwood election promises new interest (2911 views)

•   New trial sought for Jack Rider (2695 views)

•   What's hot in Verde Valley job market? (2684 views)

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Yavapai Herbal Services

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved