In 2023, Arizona experienced remarkable weather anomalies, notably in regions such as Tucson and Green Valley. The National Weather Service’s (NWS) 2023 Climate Report for Tucson revealed that the year tied with 2016 and 2014, ranking as the third-warmest year on record, boasting an average annual temperature of 72.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Interestingly, 2017 holds the top spot as the warmest year, recording an average temperature of 73.2 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly edging out 2020 at 72.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Long-term Temperature Trends
NWS highlighted a striking 25-year consecutive streak of annual temperatures consistently exceeding the average. These temperature records have been meticulously maintained since 1895, providing a substantial dataset for climate analysis.
Monthly Climate Highlights
The year was characterized by several noteworthy weather events across various months:
- April stood out as the 14th warmest on record, witnessing the earliest occurrence of a 100-degree day on April 30th, which also marked the first time a freezing low temperature was recorded in April.
- July emerged as the hottest month ever recorded, with an average temperature of 94.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Daily records for high temperatures were either set or equaled from July 15th to 22nd, ranging between 110 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
- August secured the position of the third-hottest month on record, culminating in a remarkable 53-day consecutive streak of triple-digit high temperatures until August 7th.
- September tied as the warmest month on record, while October ranked as the fourth-warmest, featuring a late occurrence of a triple-digit high on the 20th.
- November and December followed suit, standing as the fifth and sixth warmest respectively. December notably lacked any low temperatures of 32 degrees or colder at the Tucson International Airport.
Seasonal Temperature Rankings
When looking at the seasonal breakdown, winter of 2022-23 ranked 54th warmest, spring stood as the 27th warmest, while the monsoon season registered as the hottest on record. Additionally, fall ranked as the second-warmest.
Temperature Extremes and Changes in Climate Patterns
2023 witnessed several temperature milestones. The year set a new record for the most days with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees, totaling 18 days. This notably surpassed the previous record of 10 days set in 1990 and 1994. Moreover, there were 89 days where temperatures soared to 100 degrees or higher, marking the fourth-highest number of such days. The record, however, was established in 2020, with 108 days surpassing the 100-degree mark.
Rainfall Patterns and Early Weather Patterns
The year commenced with above-average rainfall attributed to a triple-dip La Nina, dissipating in the spring. The initial three months saw 3.01 inches of rain, marking it as the 30th wettest period on record.
The monsoon season, running from June 15th to September 30th, experienced a delayed onset and below-average rainfall. Conversely, winter started with notable rainfall, accumulating 10.21 inches and ranking as the 55th driest year. Unexpectedly, April and June turned out to be the driest months of 2023, recording minimal to no rainfall.
Green Valley and Sahuarita recorded rainfall varying between 6.14 inches to 10.35 inches throughout the year.
Outlook for 2024
The onset of 2024 introduced an “unsettled” weather pattern, accompanied by evening showers on January 1st. The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for 2024 suggests a tendency towards above-normal temperatures during warmer months, with equal probabilities of above or below-normal temperatures in colder months.
NWS anticipates the continuation of above-average temperatures for yet another consecutive year. Regarding precipitation, early spring forecasts favor slightly above-normal precipitation, with equal chances for below or above-normal rainfall for the rest of the year.
Green Valley might witness rain on Wednesday night and Thursday, with a 30 to 40% chance of showers. The week ahead may also bring widespread frost in the mornings, while the mountains could experience snowfall on Sunday, transitioning from showers to rain and snow at night.
For more comprehensive weather statistics from the year, interested individuals can access weather data at weather.gov/twc.