Believe it or not, it is almost the middle of November, but the temperatures certainly do not match! This fact has many questioning if this could be the year without a winter in Phoenix.
No doubt about it, it has been warm in Phoenix over the past month. Numerous broken high temperature records have occurred, and just this week the temperature reached 90 degrees.
The culprit for all this warmth is high pressure.
“Largely due to high pressure that has been setting up over the area,” said Ken Water, a meteorologist with National Weather Service in Phoenix.
So could this be the year without a winter in Phoenix? “It’s always a little bit of a crapshoot, but right now we are looking at moving into a La Niña period,” said Waters.
In the latest discussion from the Climate Prediction Center released Thursday, the authors mention La Niña conditions are now present and have a 55 percent chance of continuing through the winter months.
Typically, during La Niña events, the weather is warmer and drier than average across the southwestern United States. La Niña would mean these present warm temperatures could continue right through the winter. In fact, the latest long-term forecast for Arizona is calling for a 50-60 percent chance of above-average temperatures for the months of December through February.
Just because the weather could be warm, Waters urges not to let your guard down.
“We could end up with a much warmer than normal winter and still have a really strong cold event for maybe a few days or a week or so," he said.
Another key point is the fact that not every weather pattern will end up with the same results.
“Every El Niño, every La Niña they are not the same," Waters said. "We just had a very strong El Niño, but we did not get the anticipated weather pattern that we would have expected over the desert southwest.”
On Twitter, I asked: At what temperature do you first feel a "winter" chill in the air? And the results:
61-70 degrees: 29%
51-60 degrees: 38%
41-50 degrees: 24%
40 degrees or below: 9%
Based on what the majority of those in Arizona considers winter, I am sure at some point the Valley of the Sun will have winter-like conditions; however, warmer-than-average temperatures are very likely.