A potentially wet and snowy storm set to hit Southern Arizona Tuesday is just the start of a damper weather pattern that could bring significant precipitation to the region, the National Weather Service says.
A winter storm watch has been issued for most of Southern Arizona in anticipation of a front that could dump more than a half-inch of rain in Tucson and more than eight inches of snow in the mountains.
The watch runs from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday, though significant precipitation could begin earlier than that, the weather service said.
Some parts of the region are already seeing the storm’s effects, as a band of light rain crossed the Tucson area Monday morning, bringing trace amounts to the northern parts of the valley and about 0.06 inches of rain to parts of the Catalina Mountains as of 10 a.m.
The watch covers eastern Pima County as well as Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties, with snow levels expected to drop to as low as 5,500 feet late Tuesday and early Wednesday, according to the weather service.
Accumulations of 8 to 14 inches of snow is predicted for areas above 7,000 feet, while the Tucson area could get at least a half-inch of rain from the storm, the weather service said. The chance of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday is 70 percent, according to the weather service.
Rain and snow is also predicted for parts of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, prompting the weather service to post information on its Web site about the 10 wettest Januarys in southeast Arizona.
For the record, we’d need to get 1.92 inches of rain by Jan. 31 to make that list. No measurable rain has hit Tucson International Airport this month.