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Two weather systems will impact northern Arizona this week - one on Wednesday and the other on Saturday and Sunday. The mid-week system will bring 0.5-1.0 inches of rain to areas south and southwest of the courthouse and 0.25-0.5 to areas further north (see attached graphics). Rain falling on already saturated and/or snow covered ground may result in modest rises in streams by Thursday morning. Snow levels will start out at 7,500-8,500 ft Tuesday night, lowering to 6,500-7,500 ft on Wednesday. The weekend system is expected to produce only light precipitation.
Today and Tuesday, expect mostly cloudy but warmer weather, with highs in the 50s. Rain will start late Tuesday evening, with most falling during the day Wednesday, easing by evening. Thursday through Sunday will be cooler with variable cloud, with highs in the 40s or low 50s. A slight chance for showers again on Sunday.
Additional notes for the weather nuts out there:
Last week’s storm produced 1 to 1.5 inches of liquid water equivalent in most places. Snowfall ranged from less than 1 inch in Dewey-Humboldt, to about 9 inches near the courthouse to over a foot in higher elevation areas south and southwest of town.
Here are some unofficial local snowfall totals reported last week:
- Groom Creek - 12
- Haisley - 10
- Downtown Prescott - 9.5
- Prescott Transfer Station - 5
- Rosser St. - 7
- Iron Springs Rd. - 9.5
- N. Williamson Valley Road - 7.5
- Pioneer Pkwy & Willow Creek - 4.5
- Williamson Valley Rd. - 5.5
- Chino Valley - 4
- Paulden - 3.5
- Prescott Valley - 3.5
- Skull Valley - 7
- Wilhoit - 6
- Jerome - 6
- Sedona - 1.5
- Flagstaff - 19
Mountain areas capture more precipitation because rising motion in the atmosphere is needed to produce precipitation. As air moves over mountains, rising motion occurs on the upwind side, with sinking air on the downwind side. For a warm system involving mostly rain, most rainfall occurs on the upwind side and near the summit of the mountains. So for southerly flow (wind from the south), this means most rainfall will occur on south-facing slopes. For a colder system involving mostly snow, the precipitation maximum can shift to an area slightly downwind of the mountain crest, because snowflakes fall more slowly (about 1 ms-1) so drift further downwind before landing. Very strong winds can also shift precipitation further downwind of the mountain.
Have another wonderful week and don’t forget to enjoy the festivities in Arizona’s Christmas City.
Met Mail is an unofficial weather discussion and forecast transmitted once or twice a week via e-mail by the Embry-Riddle Department of Meteorology (http://meteo.pr.erau.edu/). Embry-Riddle offers an undergraduate bachelor-of-science degree program in Applied Meteorology. Please spread the word to all potential qualified candidates!
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Official National Weather Service forecast