El Nino brings less rain to Arizona than expected

- This year we had a Strong El Nino, which many predicted would bring plenty of rain to the valley. But this winter, we only received 2 1/2 inches. That is a little more than half of what we should have.

It has been an unusual winter here in AZ a mix of rain, snow and chilly temps with the second warmest February we've seen on record.

"You know it was just really surprising, I was expecting a colder winter than usual, and we just didn't get it for whatever reason," said Eric Beneski.

With rainfall totals below average, many wonder "what happened with El Nino? And all that rain we'd hoped for?"

National Weather Service Meteorologist Marvin Percha says one culprit are pools of warm water, gathering along the west coast.

"Ridging along the west coast tends to block storms from getting inland, and if they do get inland they're in a weakened state," said Marvin Percha.

Another reason for an unimpressive rainfall? The strong wind flows that helps transport moisture from the ocean to us.

"The energy was split with a lot of it going into Northern California, and some of it diving to the south, so we were kind of left in-between," said Percha.

Marvin says a strong El Nino like ours tends to be followed by La Nina, but it's far too early to predict how La Nina will affect Arizona. Many in Arizona hope it stays hot.

"It's very dusty so that rain would be nice, but I still like the dry hot," said Sherry Demoss.

"I hope it stays dry, I'm ready for swimming weather," said Rhonda Nelson.

It's important to remember that places like the Pacific Northwest and Northern California have received plenty of rain, thanks to El Nino. El Nino is already weakening, and it won't be until spring or summer that we'll know how La Nina will affect Arizona's forecast.

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