Tucson Weather – Calm Before the Storm

Ski Valley getting ready after a big December storm in '07
Ski Valley getting ready after a big December storm in '07

Tucson Weather: Sunny today with a high near 65.  Partly cloudy tonight with a low near 38.  Mostly sunny on Sunday with a high near 64.

Great news from the National Weather Service.  Our typical December weather is fixin’ ta give way to valley rain and “significant mountain snow” by Monday night and Tuesday!  By significant, the National Weather Service office in Tucson is estimating 6-12 inches between 6,000 and 7,000 feet with snow totals 12-18 inches possible above 7,000.  Great news indeed if it comes true.  This might be enough to jump start the ski season at Ski Valley on the top of Mt. Lemmon.  If that doesn’t, then there is a chance for more “significant mountain snow” Thursday/Friday time frame.

Of course I am hopeful that Mt. Lemmon can get the maximum from each storm.  If that is the case, we could be looking at over 3 feet of snow up there by next weekend!  Even if there is less than a third of that, there will be plenty of snow to sled on and build snowmen with.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch above 6,000 feet for much of southeastern Arizona for Monday night and Tuesday.  That’s on top of this morning’s Freeze Warning that expires at 9am.

So, what is happening?  You can read about it in this morning’s Forecast Discussion from the National Weather Service.  (note:  the link will take you to the latest discussion, so if you click it this afternoon it will be an updated discussion.  If you click it next July you will read about heat and maybe Monsoon :-)

Currently, southeastern Arizona is on the western edge of a cold Canadian airmass.  Cold dry air is giving us freezing temperatures this morning.  The quiet weather this weekend will give way to a storm that is expected to drop south out of Canada along the California coast and into the Great Basin.  The trough of low pressure that forms will allow moisture, and an upper level low in the pacific, to be pulled into Arizona.  That should bring us this good chance of rain and mountain snow by Monday night.

After that, the jet stream becomes more “zonal” or east to west across Arizona.  That should bring us an unsettled weather week with another storm moving in perhaps as early as Thursday with more rain and snow!

I love El Nino Winters in the southwest.  Looks like the AccuWeather Winter forecast is on track.  At least so far!

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