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After a wet November, December keeps us on the storm track

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Posted at 4:13 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 10:36:09-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — November brought record rainfall to many locations across southeastern Arizona. According to the Tucson National Weather Service, several locations not only broke the old rainfall records for November, they shattered them! Coronado National Memorial (located southwest of Sierra Vista on the southeast slopes of the Huachuca Mountains) recorded over 7” of rain for the month. That total smashed the old record of just over 5”!

Several locations also recorded daily record rainfall during the month of November.

Location County Record/Date Old Record/Date

Picacho 8 mi SE Pinal 2.29” / 20th 1.40” on 11/23/2013

Paradise Cochise 2.18” / 28th 1.58” on 11/30/2009

Pearce-Sunsites Cochise 2.13” / 28th 1.16” on 11/12/1994

Sierra Vista Cochise 2.11” / 28th 1.81” on 11/26/1905

San Simon Cochise 1.63” / 28th 1.20” on 11/04/2000

Willcox Cochise 1.62” / 28th 1.55” on 11/17/1913

Looking into the remainder of December, we have a good chance of seeing more valley rain and mountain snow. The Climate Prediction Center models indicate a good chance of us seeing slightly above average chances for precipitation combined with slightly above average temperatures.

In Tucson, we average 0.93” of precipitation for the month of December. So far, as of December 5th, we’ve only seen a trace of rainfall at the Tucson International Airport. However, another Pacific storm system is on track to bring more valley rain and mountain snow for this coming Sunday and Monday. We have been known to get snow, in Tucson, in December. Back in 1971, nearly 7” of snow fell at the airport. Last year, a New Year’s Eve storm produced snow late on the 31st and that snow carried into New Year’s Day. That marked only the 6th day snow has ever been recorded, in Tucson, on the first day of the year.

Our average December high temperature, in Tucson, is 64.8° F. Our average low temperature is 39.1° F. Many times, during a period of wetter than average weather, we’ll see cooler temperatures during the day with warmer than average overnight temperatures because of the increased cloud cover. Looks like we could be on a similar track through the end of this month.

We have also seen years where we had an active weather pattern at the end of the year, only to have dry conditions return after the first of the year. The long-term forecast does call for a drier, warmer pattern to settle over the Southwest after the first of the year. For now, we can enjoy the additional moisture and hope the trend continues into the winter and spring.