At 32 days, Flagstaff is now firmly planted in the fifth longest winter dry spell on record.
Forecasts from the National Weather Service in Bellemont indicate the previous record, 39 days, will be broken next weekend. It’s already the longest winter dry stretch in more than 40 years.
“We have not had any measurable snow in Arizona since the winter solstice,” said Dino DeSimone Water Supply Specialist for Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arizona. “This is very uncommon. This is the beginning of the winter snowpack season for us."
The agency has 44 SNOTEL snowpack measurement sites across the state. He says there’s no longer any snowpack at the measurement site on Fort Valley Road. And snowpack across the state is below normal, with the worst problems in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. That means less water for streams, which has implications for the health of plants and ecosystems throughout the watershed. Fire dangers could be heightened later in the year if the trend continues.
So far, northern Arizona is benefiting from a very wet monsoon season and early season snowfall in November and early December. Soil moisture remains average, but is drying every day it’s not snowing.
For more on the story, see Friday’s Arizona Daily Sun.