By John Simpson

The first month of the new year was warmer than normal temperature wise and about normal precipitation wise. The Tucson airport was exactly three degrees warmer than average for the high temperature during the month while the low temperature was exactly normal. This resulted in the mean average temperature for January 2021 to be 1.5 degrees above average, and the 18th warmest January on record.

The first two-thirds of the month was quite dry with very little precipitation and almost no snow in the mountains. However, during the last third (or 10 days) of the month, much needed rain fell in the valleys and snow in the mountains. The Tucson airport recorded 0.73” of rain in January, which is below its 30-year average of 0.94.” I recorded 1.08” of rain (and melted snow) in central Del Lago, which is slightly above my 10-year average of 1.02.” Most of The Vail Voice readership area received between 0.8 and 1.4” of rain (and melted snow) for January. It was nice to have nearly average rainfall for January 2021 since the year 2020 was the driest on record for Tucson.

Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley opened during the last weekend of the month, allowing valley visitors to get up and enjoy the beauty. Much of the Vail area also had snowfall during the end of January. The amounts varied by area and quickly melted. Unfortunately, the area is currently under an exceptional drought (the worst drought condition possible) and much more valley rain and mountain snow is needed to alleviate the situation. However, at the time of this writing in late February, almost no rain has fallen in the area for the month and the outlook for March and the entire Spring season is for above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall. Let’s hope this does not come to pass as fire season is approaching and we do not want a repeat of last summer when much of Mt. Lemmon was on fire for many weeks.

For next month, I will report on February and update the Spring outlook.

John Simpson has lived in southern Arizona the past 31 years and Vail for 15 of those years. John has a bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Missouri and a mster’s degree in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Arizona. He loves exploring the outdoors with his family and photographing weather and the beauty of southern Arizona.

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