Recent rain and snow not much help for the drought
KINGMAN – While local residents may rejoice at rain and snow that fell over the past two weeks, weather experts say it has done almost nothing for watersheds.
“In terms of agriculture it will help a little bit because soil here responds quickly to moisture changes as compared with soil in the east,” said Randy Cerveny, professor of geography at Arizona State University.
“In terms of water storage it will hardly do anything at all. Phoenix depends on moisture from the Mogollon Rim and we’ve had almost nothing.”
Mohave County Department of Public Works gauges measured about one-quarter inch of precipitation in the Kingman area overnight March 11-12, despite city streets being covered in snow that Sunday morning.
Most department gauges recorded between two-tenths and three-fourths of an inch of rain in the area for the 24-hour period ending at midnight Tuesday.
Snow was seen in town that day, but did not accumulate.
It was rare for local residents to see snow twice in a 10-day span, and the chance for a third snowfall is near zero, Cerveny said.
A meteorologist with AccuWeather and based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Ken Clark said .14 inches of precipitation fell at Kingman Airport the weekend of March 11-12 with an additional .12 inches recorded there Tuesday.
“You’ve gotten .34 inches so far in March, whereas the normal amount for the first 21 days of the month is .95 inches,” Clark said. “The entire month normally produces 1.31 inches in Kingman, but it’s not likely you’ll get any more precipitation through Tuesday.”
Chances for rain Tuesday night into Wednesday are slight as the jet stream that pushes systems has shifted northward again after remaining further south so the storm systems of March 11-12 and Tuesday could drop some moisture here, Clark said.
April, May and June are traditionally dry months in northwest Arizona and he expects that to remain the case this spring, Cerveny said.
“The jet stream has been further south than usual in March and that kept temperatures 4.5 degrees or more below average in many areas,” Clark said. “Barstow and Los Angeles were 6.5 degrees below normal and you haven’t yet had a daytime high of 70 in Kingman.
He expects rainfall amounts to remain below normal in northwest Arizona for the next 3-6 months.
“Temperatures are a little harder to gauge because a departure from normal for precipitation doesn’t necessarily mean warmer-than-normal temperatures,” Clark said. “The thinking is that below normal precipitation means above normal temperatures, and we didn’t see that in March.”
Clark said he anticipates near normal temperatures for the spring.