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La Niña's impact on Arizona's winter weather

Winter Weather Missouri
Posted at 6:13 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 12:39:28-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — This winter, we are experiencing something calledLa Niña, a natural phase of climate that usually brings drier and warmer weather. La Niña triggers a wave of high-level winds that are felt around the globe. In the United States, the north feels cooler, wet weather while the south feels warm, dry weather.

"Now the one thing with La Niña or El Niño, it’s not a guarantee," Glenn Lader, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Tucson, said. "While the vast vast majority of La Niña winters have below average precipitation that doesn’t mean that every single one of them is, you have your outliers here that can show normal precipitation."

He says while there is a La Niña winter, the winter rain is key to helping bring the drought levels down. Throughout the last year, we've been in the highest level or drought, or D4 drought. Now, the drought level has decreased to D3 or even D2 in some areas.

"It depends on exactly where you are in the abnormally dry or moderate drought in the region but if we stay here near normal, those categories I don’t anticipate changing too much," Lader said. "But certainly as we get into our drier spring period where we don’t see a lot of rainfall, there is potential that we will enter a more severe drought category."