Climatologists looking for wet winter in the Southwest

A motorist drives through a large puddle Oct. 24 on Andy Devine Avenue in front of the Powerhouse Visitor Center. Mohave County Department of Public Works gauges indicate one-fourth to one-half inch of rain fell around Kingman in the 24-hour period ending at midnight. Kingman Airport received .42 inches that day. Photo: TERRY ORGAN/Miner

A motorist drives through a large puddle Oct. 24 on Andy Devine Avenue in front of the Powerhouse Visitor Center. Mohave County Department of Public Works gauges indicate one-fourth to one-half inch of rain fell around Kingman in the 24-hour period ending at midnight. Kingman Airport received .42 inches that day. Photo: TERRY ORGAN/Miner

KINGMAN - Kingman got more than its normal allotment of rain in October due largely to remnants of Tropical Storm Paul making its presence felt in Arizona during the last week of the month.

Kingman usually receives .76 inches of rain in October, according to data supplied by the Arizona State University Office of Climatology.

A total of 1.07 inches was recorded at Kingman Airport last month. There were four days with measurable rainfall, including consecutive days of Oct. 24-25 in which .42 inches fell each day.

"A couple of good systems came through (northwest Arizona) in October," said Barry Pierce, a staff meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, Nev. "On Oct. 13-14 there was significant flooding in the Colorado River Valley."

Kingman received .11 inches of rain Oct. 14.

"The rain of Oct. 24-25 resulted from moisture coming up from the tropics due to Paul," said Randy Cerveny, professor of geography at ASU. "What rain we usually get in October is from the remnants of storms off the west coast of Mexico."

The average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for Kingman during October are 77.2 and 49.9, respectively. Last month, those averages were 74.9 and 46.7, putting the community about 3 degrees below normal at both ends of the spectrum.

A northwest airflow aloft brought cooler fall temperatures into the area sooner than expected, Pierce said.

"There wasn't anything major happening," Cerveny said. "We just had more polar air coming in and most of the hot air was pushed into California, which is why they had fires."

A weak El Nino in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America is drawing warm water from the west and causing a rise in surface temperatures. That has led the Climate Prediction Center in Silver Spring, Md. to project above normal precipitation and temperatures for the winter in the Southwest, Pierce said.

ASU Office of Climatology data states Kingman normally receives the following average maximum and minimum temperatures, and precipitation amounts: November, 63.7 and 38.7 with .74 inches; December, 54.8 and 31.8 with .94 inches; January, 54.1 and 31.4 with 1.28 inches; and February, 59.2 and 34.9 with 1.06 inches.

"El Nino allows for storms that normally come into Oregon and Washington to move down into our region," Cerveny said. "You have warmer water creating warmer air over it. That warm air basically is wet and pulls the Jet Stream down into the Southwest, allowing us to figure wind patterns and where storms are likely to occur."

The first part of the winter looks like it will be dry, Cerveny said. He added El Nino would probably "get its act together" in January and begin pumping moisture into Arizona, thereby setting the stage for wet conditions in the late winter into spring.