Tucson’s top 4 weather stories of 2015

What a wild year of weather in the Old Pueblo! From an active Monsoon to a flourishing El Niño, Mother Nature provided many storylines. Here’s my list of the 4 biggest weather stories of 2015 in Tucson.

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Thanks in part to a building El Niño in the eastern Pacific, Tucson registered an average May temp that ran 2.6° below average. Not only was this the coolest May in almost two decades, but the temperature departure was the largest recorded since May 1977. Of note, daytime highs ran below normal for 15 straight days.

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It was a close call, but Tucson picked up a trace of snow minutes after the ball dropped at midnight on New Year’s. Alas, it still counts & goes down as the 1st New Year’s snowfall in the Old Pueblo since 1960. Other portions of Metro Tucson picked up 1-2″ snow, including Midtown and Oro Valley. 2015 is added to the list of 1906, 1907, 1951 & 1960 for years with measurable snow in Tucson on New Year’s Day.

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One of the most memorable weather events in my 8 years living in Tucson. An early surge of Monsoon moisture interacted with a trough, touching off 2015’s largest severe weather outbreak. Nearly every storm produced large hail, ranging in size from quarter to ping pong ball. Central Tucson took a direct beating during the early evening. A few hours later, a different storm produced a wall cloud near Whetstone & the National Weather Service issued their first Tornado Warning since September 10th, 2011.

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1998 and 2015 crossed paths yet again, with El Niño being the common denominator. It seems more often than not that Tucson ends the year with a rainfall deficit. Not 2015. In fact, we were guaranteed an above average yearly rain total way back in October. The Old Pueblo hasn’t seen this much rain in almost two decades. That ongoing drought? A thing of the past for much of the Sonoran Desert in 2015.

Love to hear your thoughts on my list! Did I leave out an event? Let me know in the comments section below.


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