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Climate of the Tonto Creek Basin

Climate data from NOAA/NWS Co-op Network and SNOTEL/Snowcourse stations are compiled in Table 5.3-1 and the locations are shown on Figure 5.3-3.  Figure 5.3-3 also shows precipitation contour data from the Spatial Climate Analysis Service (SCAS) at Oregon State University.  The Tonto Creek Basin does not contain Evaporation Pan or AZMET stations.  More detailed information on climate in the planning area is found in Section 5.0.3.  A description of the climate data sources and methods is found in Volume 1, Appendix A.  For a link to the climate data source web page click its header.

NOAA/NWS Coop Network

  • Refer to Table 5.3-1A
  • There are three NOAA/NWS Co-op network climate stations in the basin.  The average monthly maximum temperature occurs in July at all stations and ranges between 86.8°F at Reno R.S. and 81.9°F at Gisela.  The average monthly minimum temperature occurs in January or December and ranges between 40.8°F at Gisela and 45.3°F at Punkin Center.

  • Highest average seasonal rainfall occurs in the winter (January – March) and fall (October-December).  For the period of record used, the highest annual rainfall is 19.77 inches at Reno R.S. and the lowest is 18.23 inches at Punkin Center.


  • Refer to Table 5.3-1D
  • There are two stations in this basin, Promontory Butte and Promontory (SNOTEL).  The Promontory Butte station was discontinued in 1989.

  • Both stations are at an elevation of 7,930 feet and record highest average snowpack in April.

  • The highest average snowpack at Promontory Butte is 15.1 inches and at Promontory (SNOTEL) is 13.8 inches.  Snowpack is measured in inches of snow water content.  Ten inches of fresh snow can contain as little as 0.10 inches of water or up to 4 inches depending on a number of factors. The majority of U.S. snows fall with a water-to-snow ratio of between 0.04 and 0.10. (NSIDC, 2006)

SCAS Precipitation Data

  • See Figure 5.3-3
  • Additional precipitation data shows rainfall as high as 38 inches on the northern basin boundary at the Mogollon Rim and as low as 14 inches on the southern basin boundary south of Punkin Center.

Click to view Table 5.3-1

Click for Table 5.3-1 Climate Data for the Tonto Creek Basin

Click to view Figure 5.3-3

Click for Figure 5.3-3 Tonto Creek Basin Meteorological Stations and Annual Precipitation


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References and Supplemental Reading for the Tonto Creek Basin

Colorado River Central Highlands Planning Area Download entire Central Highlands Planning Area Atlas in pdf Forest Ponderosa forest