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Above-Average Arizona Temperatures Are Part Of The El Niño Pattern

El Niño jet stream patterns
(Photo courtesy of NOAA)
Typical El Niño jet stream patterns across the U.S. during the winter include a more persistent than usual storm track entering the Southwest U.S. bringing wetter than normal conditions.

It’s been several weeks since the desert Southwest has seen precipitation — but weather forecasters say it’s not a signal El Niño has come and gone.

The above-average temperatures we’re experiencing in Arizona are part of the El Niño pattern.

"This one definitely has turned into more of a drier and warm El Niño, especially this month," said John Glueck, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service.

The jet stream, which carries moisture from the Pacific Ocean to the continent, has taken a northern path, into Western Canada, then bringing cold and snow to the middle of the United States.

Glueck said there is no set pattern to El Niños.

"Past strong El Niños have had where it’s been dry in the beginning, and then had a wet end to it, so we’re hoping for that," said Glueck. "And the current forecast for March does have enhanced probabilities for above-normal rainfall, so we still have some hope left."

Meanwhile, the early blooming desert wildflowers are acknowledging this winter’s rains.

Sara Hammond has an extensive background in journalism as well as corporate communication. A graduate of the University of Arizona’s (UA) School of Journalism, Hammond interned at the Tucson Citizen and, after graduation, spent 10 years reporting for the Portland Press Herald in Maine.