January sees weird weather and records in The Valley

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- It's been a month of records -- hot, cold and rain.

Torrents came down in the mountains and Valley over the weekend.  Measurable precipitation fell on five consecutive days for the first time since February 2005.  And Saturday's 1.18 inches that fell in Phoenix made that the eighth rainiest day on record according to the National Weather Service.

“Ahead of this event we tapped into some subtropical moisture.  We don't always do that.  In fact we very rarely do that,” explained Michael Bruce of the National Weather Service.

The rain came on the back of last week’s record heat.  The 81-degree highs on both Tuesday and Wednesday were the hottest ever on those dates.

The week before that was a cold snap that didn’t quite make the record books, but certainly got the attention of desert dwellers used to mild winter temps. The Valley of the Sun literally froze over as pools, ponds and fountains turned to ice.

The four-night stretch of below-freezing temperatures from the 12th to the 15th was the longest in 35 years.

“It's been quite a few years since I've seen anything quite resembling what we've seen here with getting the record cold and record heat right behind it,” Bruce said.

Bruce added that big swings between high and low pressure are to blame for the wide temperature variance.  But he also said not to read too much into it.

“We're not really seeing anything, weather-wise, that we haven't seen before,” he said. “I'll be surprised the rest of the winter if we see the dramatic swings we've had in January.”

One weather wonder we don’t have to guess about – we’ll be topping the triple digits before long.