As I sit in Hong Kong, I am wondering about the curious similarities in Flagstaff’s and Munich’s winter and spring. Both had relatively warm and dry winters. And now, both are having cold, wet Mays. With yesterday’s (I think that means Tuesday, jet lag and the international dateline make me wonder)…With yesterday’s precipitation, this May be came one of the 10 wettest May’s in since 1950. Only 8 times since 1950 has May been this wet. More importantly, at 1.52 inches, we are above 1 standard deviation from the norm.
Clearly, this is great for limiting the fire season in May. Last winter was dry, but still we are close to normal for the water year which starts September 1. Since January first, we are only 0.85 inches below normal. Not all that bad. Last winter should have been wetter, much wetter than normal because of the strong El Niño, right?
All too often, we learn that the more we know, the more we realize how much we don’t know. The National Weather Service is always careful to point out that El Niño conditions in the Pacific point to a general trend of warmer and wetter winters for Northern Arizona. This year we bucked the trend, and added on a cold wet May as the El Niño conditions literally evaporated in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.
La Niña is uniformly predicted to follow. If you believe the experts, it could be one of the coldest La Niñas in quite a while. Next year should see a much cooler trend for a considerable part of the planet.
For the next few weeks, cool but drier conditions seem to be on the way for Northern Arizona. Don’t be surprised a significant freeze hits before the end of the month. I keep thinking that Munich or Flagstaff has had their last snow. Then, one or the other has one. When will winter end?
But, what about Tulips! We went to the Keukenhof in the Netherlands in the last few weeks. Our visit was the very definition of cold and wet. It snowed a bit while we were there. That kept the crowds down in the morning of our visit. Amazing!