KINGMAN - Area residents who have enjoyed near normal temperatures over the past two weeks should prepare for their first taste of summer this weekend.
"A ridge of high pressure is building over the area that will bring dry conditions for the next seven days," said Larry Jensen, a staff meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas. "You're looking at quite a bit of warming toward the end of the week, and by Sunday, temperatures in the Kingman area should reach 91."
Average maximum and minimum temperatures for Kingman in March are 62.9 and 38.2, respectively, according to the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nev. Normal precipitation for the month is 1.39 inches.
Kingman airport had average maximum and minimum temperatures last month of 72.1 and 41.1, the Arizona State University Office of Climatology reported. However, rainfall was only .08 inches.
"I think I'm going to get out of the weather-guessing game," Randy Cerveny, professor of geography at ASU, joked. "We said the winter would be wet and spring dry and it's turning out a little opposite to that prediction, so we're having a little trouble with long-range forecasting."
The Climate Prediction Center in Silver Spring, Md. has predicted above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation for northwest Arizona for the next 90 days, Cerveny said.
"Normal precipitation tells me they really don't have any idea of anything confusing the weather such as El Nino Southern Oscillation to mess up storm tracks," he said. "We've had some strange storms come through Arizona over the winter, and I can't put my finger on anything as the cause, so it's difficult to make a long-term forecast."
The WRCC projects the following average maximum and minimum temperatures, and rainfall for Kingman for May through July: May 80.9, 53, .35 inches; June 91.7, 62.8, .26 inches; July 95.9, 69.3, 1.08 inches.
Cerveny said the developing high-pressure ridge will clear out skies and set up a pattern likely to continue for dry conditions throughout May, one of the drier months.
It still is too early to predict the arrival date or intensity of the monsoon, Jensen said.
"It looks like there may be a little La Nina developing in the eastern Pacific Ocean and that would cause equatorial water to move westward," Cerveny said. "However, it doesn't have much to do with the monsoon.
"That would be based on warm, moist air moving up from Mexico. We'll watch satellite photos of what's happening down in Mexico. If we see more clouds over the next month, that's the very start of the monsoon that works its way up into Arizona."
In a typical year, the monsoon in Kingman begins around mid-July.