David Wallace/The Arizona Republic

A new study of global weather patterns over the past 35 years supports earlier scientific predictions the southwestern United States will become drier as atmospheric conditions that typically bring the most rain and snow to the region continue to become more rare.

The research supported by the National Science Foundation concludes that what's now considered a normal year of precipitation in the Southwest is drier than it used to be.

The scientists emphasize the new data doesn't prove climate change is responsible for increasing frequency and duration of drought.


The first storm of February in northern Arizona is expected to drop several inches of snow throughout the region. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory until 5 p.m. on Monday above 4,000 feet.

Winter in the Southwest and West Coast could be fraught with flooding, evacuations, power outages and landslides because of El Nino, and federal officials Wednesday released their emergency plan and gave tips on how to be prepared.

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency released a disaster plan for how they plan to respond to El Nino, a warming of the Pacific Ocean that can bring devastating weather.

FEMA officials also participated in a mock exercise to test their reactions.

Northern AZ Radar

Jul 1, 2014