Monsoon 2015: El Nino is strengthening says experts

The Summer monsoon season doesn't officially get underway for about four more weeks, but forecasters are keeping an eye on El Nino and how it could impact the valley's summer storms.

If you're enjoying the cooler temperatures in the valley, and unusual rain and snow this May, you can thank El Nino says Mark Omalley with the National Weather Service.

But it's not completely thanks to El Nino.

"It's probably a factor into why we've been so cool and wet this year, but it's not the only factor if you want to say thank you to El Nino, it definitely helped," said Mark O'Malley.

So will El Nino bring an active monsoon to Arizona this Summer?

And can we expect another record breaker like the last monsoon that brought floods and 9 inches of rain to some areas of the valley?

"It's very unpredictable," said O'Malley.

There are a lot of mixed signals, according to O'Malley. The map of water temperatures certainly has people in the weather world talking. El Nino is strengthening in the Pacific Ocean; the water temperature is rising.

"The orange and red is significantly warmer than average temperature, this plume of very warm water, that's the El Nino signature," he said.

Warm water can encourage hurricane development says O'Malley, and it was hurricane moisture pulled into the state that brought the heaviest rain to Arizona last August and September, making it the 7th wettest monsoon on record.

"We don't know exactly how it is going to translate for the entire year, last year that really helped us out, that could help us this year, but until those hurricanes form we don't know," said O'Malley.
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