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La Niña expected to bring dry winter to Arizona

Southwest Heat
Posted at 8:43 AM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 12:26:54-04

It's looking more and more likely that Arizona will be in for another dry winter due to back-to-back La Niñas, referred to as a "double-dip."

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued a La Niña Advisory on Thursday due to La Niña conditions redeveloping and expected to continue through the fall and winter.

La Niña refers to cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the central and east-central Pacific Ocean, near the equator.

According to the CPC, there is an 87% chance that La Niña conditions could last from December 2021 to February 2022.

La Niña conditions can have varying effects on weather patterns around the world.

For us across the Southwest, La Niña typically brings drier-than-normal conditions during the winter. This is because the jet stream, or storm track, stays to the north of our area, essentially making for wetter-than-normal conditions across the Pacific Northwest, but drier-than-normal conditions for the Desert Southwest. While this isn't always the case every time La Niña is present, it is representative of the average impacts.

This update comes as Arizona significantly improved its drought situation over the summer. Seventy-seven percent of the state is experiencing some level of drought, compared to 99% earlier in the year. Before the monsoon, nearly three-fourths of the state was under an exceptional drought, which is the worst kind of drought. As of now, there is no exceptional drought in Arizona.