By John Simpson

March 2020 was extremely wet for Arizona, except for Eastern and Southern Tucson and much of Vail. The brunt of one major storm passed just to our East and the brunt of several storms stayed to our West. March wetness has helped the wildflower show throughout the state. The Tucson airport recorded 0.70” of rain, which is just shy of its 30-year average of 0.73.” At my home in Central Del Lago, I recorded 0.70” as well, which is somewhat greater than my 9-year average of 0.48.” The big story is how wet it was in all other parts of Arizona. The table below shows the official reporting stations in Arizona with their March 2020 rainfall compared to average. As you can see, the Tucson airport was right about average, but all other stations were 2 to 8 times above average.

Reporting StationAverage March Rainfall (Inches)March 2020 Rainfall (Inches)
Tucson Airport0.730.70 (96%)
Douglas0.501.92 (384%)
Phoenix Airport0.991.94 (196%)
Yuma0.332.70 (818%)
Flagstaff2.124.27 (201%)
Winslow0.541.31 (243%)
Prescott1.073.27 (306%)
Kingman0.761.99 (262%)

Yuma received an incredible 2.70” of rain compared to an average of only 0.33.” Yuma only receives 3.36” of rain for an entire year and they have exceeded that already by March 2020. The southern part of Tucson and much of Vail was not in the path of several major storms as explained earlier. For example, northwest Tucson averaged about 1.5” and Mescal just to our East had up to 2” of rain for March. The southern part of Sierra Vista had between 3 and 4” of rain, which is well above average. On the temperature side, March was just 0.4 degrees above average at the Tucson airport, which is the 32nd warmest March since records began in the 1880s. So far 2020 is the 28th warmest on record by the end of March. So, like last year, we are so far not in the top 10 hottest years like we saw in much of the last decade (see my February 2020 article). For next month, I will discuss April, which is typically one of our driest months.

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