April showers bring May flowers.
What a joke.
The Old Pueblo hasn’t had any significant rainfall in April or March, which in fairness, is to be expected. On average only 0.30 of an inch typically falls in April and less than three-quarters of an inch usually falls in March.
But the last time this dusty town saw any rain was the last two days of February, when most places in and around Tucson received less than half an inch.
The airport, Tucson’s official recording station, logged no rain Feb. 27, and only 0.20 of an inch Feb. 28.
April was also warm — the average monthly temperature was 6.3 degrees above average, making it the second hottest April on record.
From April 6-12, the average daily temperature was more than 10 degrees warmer than the norm. But then the following week saw a slew of temperatures slightly below normal.
The month came to a close with high temperatures above 90 degrees, topping out at 96 on April 27.
March was much the same. The average monthly temperature was nearly three degrees above average and only trace amounts of rain were recorded at the airport. Temperatures ranged from six degrees below normal to 14 above.
These warm and dry conditions are rough, and they can be dangerous when mixed with wind.
“Wind, high temps and dry conditions don’t help fires at all,” said Aaron Hardin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Tucson. “None of this (wind) is abnormal for this time of year though, and April and May are also some of the driest months.”
But what’s causing the wind? “Mexico is heating up to the south and there’s still cold air in the north and we’re caught between the gears,” said Michael Crimmins, a University of Arizona climatologist. As the wind shifts back and forth from the cooler air in the north to the warmer air in the south, the temperature fluctuates along with it.
The Weather Service expects these dry and (on average) warm conditions to continue into May, but with some caveats this week.
Tuesday, May 1, will be windy, but temperatures are expected to dip 12 to 20 degrees and continue into Thursday. Morning lows could slip into the 30s in Tucson for the first time since mid-March.
The weather service also forecasts storms developing north of Tucson on Wednesday.
But expect to be hot and dry by this weekend. Tucson could hit triple digits Sunday for the first time this year.