What will winter be like in Arizona this year?

A “triple dip La Niña” is what’s predicted for this coming winter, meaning drier conditions at a time when Arizona could use rain the most.

The Climate Prediction Center in Washington, DC released their Winter Outlook report for December through February on October 21, and their predictions indicate that the ongoing drought in the Southwest could get worse.

“When we’re in a La Niña pattern, the southwestern United States usually tends to have a warmer than normal and drier than normal winter,” Lojero said.

This forecast will mark the third consecutive winter of these conditions. It has only happened two other times in recorded history – 1973 to 1976 and then 1998 to 2001.

“You continue to accumulate rainfall deficits, it continues to drop our reservoirs,” Lojero said. “It’s concerning, given that we’re experiencing these conditions now for more than just one winter … but for multiple winters, so it’s more like a domino effect.”

Lojero added that the dry climate could have several domino effects, including an earlier start to the wildfire season in the spring.

Meanwhile, this is happening in the midst of a decades-long drought.

“If we have a drier than normal winter, that basically means that drought conditions will continue to persist and may worsen,” Lojero explained. “[The] water supplies may continue to dwindle.”

Experts stress that these outlooks are not a guarantee, as some weather patterns that are beyond their ability to predict will supersede this. Still, everyone is encouraged to take plenty of water-saving measures.

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