80 and sunny: How our great Phoenix weather can mean problems

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All those days of above-average temperatures are impacting people across the state. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) All those days of above-average temperatures are impacting people across the state. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

80 degrees and sunshine! Sounds like the perfect forecast, right?

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see photo of Waste Management Phoenix Open]

It does feel nice out there but keep in mind our warm winter can have consequences not just in Phoenix, but statewide.

Yup, I'm going to be the weather Debbie Downer. But these are important things to think about in a place that relies so much on water. 

One main source of water in Phoenix is snow in the mountains to the north and to the east of the Valley.

Even though 80-degree Phoenix weather sounds great to some, it means above-normal temperatures too in the mountains where precious snow (that eventually becomes drinking water) lives.

“If it all melts right away, you really lose a lot of that water through evaporation,” Andrew Deemer, with the Phoenix National Weather Service office, said. “It doesn't make it back into the ground where we need it.”

Ideally, we want cold mountain weather, with the snow slowly melting and seeping into the ground and eventually our reservoirs east of the Valley. Phoenix has done a great job for decades saving water and planning for the future. So we are not talking about immediate problems here in the Valley. 

But it is another story if you run a business in the mountains that depends on snow. 

Below is a look at Feb. 1 snow depth this winter compared to last winter. 

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see photo of Arizona maps comparing snow]

I talked with a few businesses along the Rim and the owners tell me they have seen a drop in visitors with the lack of snow and above-normal temperatures.

“We've probably done half the business we did last year” Rick Finkler, owner of the Cabins on Strawberry Hill said.

And aside from water and businesses dollars, a dry and warm winter can have major impacts on the fire season a few months down the road.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see photo of the mountains new Flagstaff]

“And if this continues the way it, everyone on the Rim will be very fearful of fire season,” Finkler said.

So while the 80s may be great for golf and more, we need to remember the other impacts it has for all Arizonans. 

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Ian SchwartzAn Arizona native, born and raised in Mesa, and graduate of Arizona State University, Ian Schwartz is thrilled to be back in the Valley of the Sun.

Click to learn more about Ian.

Ian Schwartz
Wake Up Meteorologist

After starting his journalism career in Illinois, Ian worked in Albuquerque and later Sacramento. In the field as a reporter, he has covered flash floods, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, drought and just about everything the weather can offer. After spending some time reporting, Ian decided to further his education and completed Mississippi State's broadcast meteorology program. Ian loves everything about Arizona weather from winter storms in the north to the monsoon in the south. When Ian isn't giving you the forecast in the morning, you can find him hiking, traveling and exploring everything our great state has to offer. If you have any weather pictures or want to say hi, drop him an email or connect online.

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