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Forget Phil: NWS predicting dry, average winter in Arizona

PHOENIX -- Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil makes his call on how much more winter we'll have on Saturday, but while he's been fairly accurate on a national stage, he's been pretty poor in predicting Arizona's weather.

In the past 40 years, the groundhog has been right nationally about 60 percent of the time; not so much in Arizona.

"Last winter in Phoenix in February and March we were above average on temperatures, so his forecast was more or less wrong for our area," said Charlotte Dewey with the National Weather Service.

Dewey said she'll cut Phil some slack as Arizona winters are not like the rest of the country.

"We can have 90 degrees in March. We're a special case."

And taking the furball forecaster Phil out of the equation, here's how Dewey sees our remaining winter.

"It's going to be dry," she said. "Near average temperatures. That pattern looks to continue through the rest of the winter.

Of course Arizona has Agua Fria Freddy, a rattlesnake that is our version of that other critter that forecasts the rest of the winter.

He is reportedly right more than 95 percent of the time.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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