El Niño September update - Tucson News Now

El Niño September update

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  • Union Pacific working to get train cars back on track near Picacho Peak

    Union Pacific working to get train cars back on track near Picacho Peak

    Union Pacific working to get train cars back on track near Picacho Peak

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:16:43 GMT
    Crews are still working to clear the tracks after an overnight derailment in Pinal County. There were no injuries reported and nothing hazardous was on the train cars. Authorities say the track could be cleared up of cars by noon.
    Crews are still working to clear the tracks after an overnight derailment in Pinal County. There were no injuries reported and nothing hazardous was on the train cars. Authorities say the track could be cleared up of cars by noon.
  • Flash Flood Watch through Thursday; get a breakdown of the threat

    Flash Flood Watch through Thursday; get a breakdown of the threat

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:46 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:46:09 GMT
    Source: Jack SumanSource: Jack Suman
    There are some things that are certain with the coming rain. You WILL get rain at some point over the next three days. There WILL be flooding in some areas of Southeast Arizona. There WILL be rain records broken. 
    There are some things that are certain with the coming rain. You WILL get rain at some point over the next three days. There WILL be flooding in some areas of Southeast Arizona. There WILL be rain records broken. 
  • Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Golder Ranch Fire offering sandbags to residents

    Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Golder Ranch Fire offering sandbags to residents

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-09-17 04:41:18 GMT
    The Towns of Oro Valley and Marana, as well as Golder Ranch Fire District are offering free sandbags to residents who need to protect their homes. According Oro Valley and Marana officials, a limited number of sandbags are available to residents of both towns; residents within the Golder Ranch Fire District service area are also eligible. 
    The Towns of Oro Valley and Marana, as well as Golder Ranch Fire District are offering free sandbags to residents who need to protect their homes. According Oro Valley and Marana officials, a limited number of sandbags are available to residents of both towns; residents within the Golder Ranch Fire District service area are also eligible. 

In the latest forecast discussion, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) says a majority of computer models "favor a weak El Niño" developing before the end of the year. The CPC says "the chance of El Niño is at 60-65% during the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter."

This could be good news for Arizona. When El Niño coincides with winter months, Arizona generally has a wetter than average winter. The winter storm track drops farther south than average allowing storms to dump more rain and snow on the state than is typical of an Arizona winter. However with a weak El Niño in the forecast the a wet winter could still elude the state. 


El Niño and La Niña refer to the sea surface temperature (SST) of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, off the coast of central America. The temperature of the water in this area can influence weather across the world, including right here in Arizona. El Niño is when the SSTs are warmer than average versus La Niña, which is when SSTs are cooler than average. The below image from National Climate Data Center shows how El Niño influences weather during the cool and warm months in the Northern Hemisphere.   



The below image shows the latest El Niño forecast from the CPC. The '0.0' line indicates average SST. The colored lines represent different computer models that forecast El Niño and La Niña trends. The thicker yellow line is the average of all the model data.  The letters at the bottom represent the months. For example, 'JAS' represents June, July, and September. In the forecast, you can see that the yellow line is trending slowly upward through the rest of summer and into fall. Once the line goes above '0.5', an El Niño is in the forecast. The current observations show the SSTs are hovering around this threshold.  

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  • Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Golder Ranch Fire offering sandbags to residents

    Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Golder Ranch Fire offering sandbags to residents

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-09-17 04:41:18 GMT
    The Towns of Oro Valley and Marana, as well as Golder Ranch Fire District are offering free sandbags to residents who need to protect their homes. According Oro Valley and Marana officials, a limited number of sandbags are available to residents of both towns; residents within the Golder Ranch Fire District service area are also eligible. 
    The Towns of Oro Valley and Marana, as well as Golder Ranch Fire District are offering free sandbags to residents who need to protect their homes. According Oro Valley and Marana officials, a limited number of sandbags are available to residents of both towns; residents within the Golder Ranch Fire District service area are also eligible. 
  • Flash Flood Watch through Thursday; get a breakdown of the threat

    Flash Flood Watch through Thursday; get a breakdown of the threat

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:46 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:46:09 GMT
    Source: Jack SumanSource: Jack Suman
    There are some things that are certain with the coming rain. You WILL get rain at some point over the next three days. There WILL be flooding in some areas of Southeast Arizona. There WILL be rain records broken. 
    There are some things that are certain with the coming rain. You WILL get rain at some point over the next three days. There WILL be flooding in some areas of Southeast Arizona. There WILL be rain records broken. 
  • Rural/Metro offers its tips for storm safety

    Rural/Metro offers its tips for storm safety

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:58 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:58:25 GMT
    With Tucson expecting to be hit with heavy rains over the next few days, thanks to now tropical storm Odile, Rural/Metro is offering a few tips to help the public stay safe during this possible flooding. 
    With Tucson expecting to be hit with heavy rains over the next few days, thanks to now tropical storm Odile, Rural/Metro is offering a few tips to help the public stay safe during this possible flooding. 
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