By John Simpson

February, 2022, was cooler and dryer than normal. I recorded 0.72” of rain and my 11-year average is 0.88.” The Tucson airport only recorded 0.20” of rain and its 30-year average is 0.84.” An interesting fact is that my rain gauge recorded the most rain in the Vail, and the Tucson metro area. Rainfall in the Vail area generally ranged from 0.35” to 0.55,” with the exception of Central Del Lago where I live. Rainfall in the Tucson area ranged from about 0.05” to 0.60.” Another interesting fact is that heavier amounts of rain were along the I-10 corridor, and the lesser amounts in the Catalina Foothills. Typically, higher rainfall amounts occur in the foothills as there is more “lift” as the wind blows against the mountains during winter storms. See for this data.

On the temperature side, the Tucson airport recorded the 59th warmest February since records began in the 1880s. The average high temperature was 0.9 degrees above the average February high of 69.2 degrees, and the average low was 4.7 degrees below the average low of 43.2 degrees. When averaged together, February 2022 came in 1.9 degrees cooler than average. Drier air in place during the month is main factor causing warmer than average high temperatures and cooler than average low temperatures, as heat can more easily escape to space at night, which causes greater variations in temperature between night and day.

For the entire winter season (December, 2021, to February, 2022), I recorded 2.51” of rain, which is below my 11-year average of 3.21.” Over half of my winter rain occurred in December. The Tucson Airport recorded 1.82” of rain for the winter season, which is below its 30-year average of 2.64.” On the temperature side, winter 2021-2022 came in below average by 0.6 degrees and was the 31st warmest on record for Tucson. As I explained last month, the National Weather Service is now using the 1991 to 2020 30-year average; the last two decades have been quite warm, bumping up the 30-year average used in previous years. If you look at any winter season since the 1880s, the vast majority of seasons would be below average when compared to the 1991 to 2020 30-year normals.
For spring 2022, the climate prediction center shows somewhat greater chances for above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. If you are like me and love the storms during the summer monsoon, the climate prediction center just released their rainfall predictions for the summer; southeast Arizona is right under a bullseye for expected higher than normal precipitation. This was posted to the Tucson National Weather Service’s Facebook page on March 18th if you want to check it out. For next month, I will discuss March, 2022, and give any further insights that may be released about the rest of Spring and the upcoming summer monsoon.

John Simpson has lived in southern Arizona the past 33 years and Vail for 17 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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