Recent rain, snow helping to ease Arizona's 17-year drought

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Tale of two weather scenes. Rainbow at DC Ranch on Saturday and a fun at Snowbowl after fresh snow falls. Tale of two weather scenes. Rainbow at DC Ranch on Saturday and a fun at Snowbowl after fresh snow falls.
Snowbowl has 15 inches of new snow. (Source: Snowbowl) Snowbowl has 15 inches of new snow. (Source: Snowbowl)
Grand Canyon Village at noon on Sunday. (Source: Grand Canyon National Park) Grand Canyon Village at noon on Sunday. (Source: Grand Canyon National Park)
Highway 64 between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View. (Source: Grand Canyon National Park) Highway 64 between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View. (Source: Grand Canyon National Park)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -

A climatologist says the recent rain and snow that has fallen in Arizona is helping to ease the state's 17-year drought.

Arizona State University meteorology professor Randy Cerveny tells a Phoenix radio station that this is the fall and winter that the state expected to have last year with El Nino.

The U.S. Drought Monitor showed approximately 25 percent of Arizona was in moderate or severe drought.

That's an improvement from 45 percent just three months ago.

No area of Arizona is in the exceptional or extreme drought category.

Since last October through last month, the Phoenix metro area has averaged 2.40 inches of rain.

SUNDAY'S FORECAST

A low-pressure system tracking east across Mexico is producing clouds, isolated showers and lingering high country snow Sunday.

In Metro Phoenix, showers will be pretty hit or miss and light in nature. Otherwise, look for mostly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 50s to low 60s.

[PHOTOS: Storm brings out rainbows around Valley]

A Winter Weather Advisory continues for the White Mountains above 7,500 ft until 5 a.m. Monday. An additional one to three inches of snow is possible during this time. Expect winter driving conditions for mountain communities above 7,500 ft through Monday.

While the Valley will see some clearing and drying, forecast models indicate a secondary disturbance across Northern Arizona may keep scattered showers there for Monday. Otherwise, look for daytime highs around the Valley in the low and mid-60s.

Weak high pressure builds in briefly Tuesday and Wednesday for drying and warming, with Valley highs near 70 degrees Wednesday.

Forecast models indicate another series of Pacific storms impacting Arizona late in the work week and into the weekend for Valley rain chances, mountain snow, gusty winds and cooler temperatures.

We'll update that forecast in the coming days.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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