/ Modified mar 18, 2016 8:09 p.m.

How Did Arizona Hit 'Doughnut Hole' of El Niño Weather?

Arizona Week looks at what happened to predicted rainfall, what it means for future.

Arizonans expected a wet winter courtesy of a strong El Niño weather pattern, but experts say that was not the case.

El Niño is a climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean. It turns out Arizona, the Southwest and Southern California’s inland missed much of the expected precipitation.

“We’re in the doughnut hole of the expected El Niño impacts right now,” said Mike Crimmins, of the University of Arizona's Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science.

Arizona Week Friday analyzes the phenomenon’s effect on the state.

As spring approaches, the chance for El Niño-related weather decreases. In the Coronado National Forest, the Forest Service is preparing for fire season.

Spokesperson Heidi Schewel said burning conditions now look more like the norm for late April and early May.

“We were hoping for more rain,” Schewel said. “We are in an extended drought and that’s taken a toll on the landscape.”

On the program:

  • Ken Drozd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service and Mike Crimmins, University of Arizona Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. -Heidi Schewel, U.S. Forest Service talks about how the agency is preparing for what could be an active fire season.
  • AZPM’s Steve Riggs shows the journey of a computerized weather balloon from Tucson’s National Weather Service office. Travels 100k feet. “We’re basically predicting the future,” “The more data we get as it gets updated and it’s refreshed we’re going to be more accurate.”
  • Connie Woodhouse, with the University of Arizona’s School of Geography and Development discusses a study that showed the effects of temperature on the flow of the Colorado River.
  • The Buzz: AZPM’s Sara Hammond discusses El Niño and Christopher Conover about the upcoming presidential preference primary and ongoing legislative session.
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