When you think of snow, you may not think of Arizona. This season you would be correct to think of Arizona as a ‘no snow zone’as snowfall has been absent to a great extent so far. Arizona typically see’s a fair share of snowfall but generally keeps it north in the state at higher elevations. Phoenix, Arizona is at an elevation of 1,086’ above sea level and the last measurable snowfall there was back in 1937. As you go north in the state from Phoenix the elevations increase. Flagstaff, Arizona is at an elevation of 6,910’ ASL and the last measurable snowfall there was last May.
By December 12th each winter Flagstaff, Arizona will average 18”+ of snowfall. This season it has seen 0.0” of snow.
The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Flagstaff, Az. noted this fact today.
The NWS went on to list the later first snows in Flagstaff which got me thinking.
Could this year’s late first snowfall (pending) and years past snow storm delays be because of the La Nina pattern set up in the Pacific Ocean?
For the United States a La Nina pattern will tend to keep locations like Flagstaff, Az. on the dry side which may be to blamed for this seasons snow drought so far.
Doing a little research, looking at the later first snows in Flagstaff, I found that an overwhelming majority of late snow years were also years of moderate to strong La Nina conditions.
If La Nina conditions persist, the southwest is in for a warmer and drier winter season.
Meteorologist Mike Morrison