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Thu, Oct. 17

January was wet, unusually warm in Prescott

January produced above-average precipitation in Prescott, despite the fact that even a weak El Niño no longer existed.

The New Year started off chilly and white as a strong, cold storm dumped several inches of snow as low as the Sonoran Desert.

But January's average temperature ended up being above the long-term average in Prescott, too.

The official National Weather Service measuring site at the Sundog wastewater treatment plant on the northeast side of Prescott recorded 2.15 inches of precipitation from at least five different weather events in January. The 117-year average is 1.74 inches.

Other communities throughout northern Arizona also recorded above-average precipitation in January, including Seligman with 1.68 inches and Cottonwood with 1.84 inches.

The New Year's storm helped push Prescott's January snowfall to 4.3 inches at Sundog, compared to the long-term average of 5.8 inches.

Sundog's average high temperature was 53.7 degrees compared to the long-term average of 50.8 degrees in January. The month's average low was 25.6 degrees compared to the long-term average of 21.3.

The Prescott airport tied 1975's record high of 68 degrees on Jan. 25. Airport records date back to 1948.

The warm weather is continuing as the high reached 65 degrees on Tuesday.

A weak El Niño signal was showing itself in December but that's even gone away, the Weather Service reported. El Niño tends to bring wetter-than-average weather to the Southwest.

January precipitation has mostly been in the form of rain throughout northern Arizona because of the above-average temperatures.

The New Year's Eve storm that bridged over to 2015 was the exception. Snowfall totals in Yavapai County reported to the Weather Service included 12 inches 10 miles south of Ash Fork, 11 inches in Jerome, 9.8 inches in Sedona, 7 inches on the west side of Prescott as well as a spot near Cottonwood, 5 inches in Camp Verde and Cottonwood, 4 inches at Sundog in Prescott and Chino Valley, and 3 inches at Yarnell and a mile south of Prescott Valley.

Traffic accidents in the New Year's storm closed portions of interstates 17 and 40, stranding some travelers for a time.

The month also ended with precipitation, this time in the form of rain throughout northern Arizona except the highest elevations. A moist, subtropical airmass brought 0.76 inches of rain to Prescott.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder

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