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Climate of the Little Colorado River Plateau Basin

Climate data from NOAA/NWS Co-op Network, Evaporation Pan, AZMET and SNOTEL/Snowcourse stations are compiled in Table 2.1-1 and the locations are shown on Figure 2.1-3.  Figure 2.1-3 also shows precipitation contour data from the Spatial Climate Analysis Service (SCAS) at Oregon State University.  A description of the climate data sources and methods can be found here.  Additional information on climate in this basin can be found in Section 2.0.3 - Climate.  For a link to the web page for each climate data source click its header.

NOAA/NWS Co-op Network

  • Refer to Table 2.1-1A
  • The 46 NOAA/NWS Co-op network climate stations are widely dispersed throughout the basin.  The average monthly maximum temperature ranges from 61.5˚F at Greer to 82.2˚F at Cameron and the average monthly minimum temperature ranges from 27.0˚F at Fort Valley to 36.5˚F at Cameron 1 NNE.
  • The highest seasonal rainfall occurs at most stations in the summer (July-September).  For the period of record used, the highest average annual precipitation is 28.46 inches at McNary 2 N. and the lowest is 4.09 inches at Monument Valley.
  • On average, the driest season is spring (April-June).
  • Altitude is a factor in precipitation, however the rain shadow effect results in greater precipitation on the windward side as storms move northeastward.  Blue Ridge Ranger Station at 6,880 feet received an average of 20.6 inches of rainfall a year while Betatakin, at 7,290 feet received only 12.81 inches.

Evaporation Pan

  • Refer to Table 2.1-1B
  • There are three sites in the basin at Flagstaff, Page and Winslow.  Elevation at the stations range from 4,890 feet to 7,010 feet and the corresponding annual average evaporation ranges from 84.7 inches to 54.0 inches.

AZMET

  • Refer to Table 2.1-1C
  • There is one AZMET station in the basin, located at Flagstaff at an elevation of 6,747 feet. Average annual reference evaporation is 56.79 inches and is similar to that at the Flagstaff evaporation pan site.

SNOTEL/Snowcourse

  • Refer to Table 2.1-1D
  • There are data from twenty snow measurement sites in the basin, more than any basin in the state. Four sites have been discontinued.
  • Elevations at current sites range from 6,930 feet at Lake Mary to 11,200 feet at Snow Bowl #2.
  • High elevation sites (>8,000 feet) in the vicinity of Flagstaff typically continue to accumulate snowpack into April.
  • High elevation sites (>8,000 feet) in the Beaver Springs and Tsaile Canyon areas report highest average snowpack in March.
  • Sites <8,000 feet generally show highest snowpack in March/February.
  • Highest average snowpack is found at three stations near Flagstaff and a station at Mount Baldy (Baldy #2). In general, there is a correlation between elevation and the average snowpack, however the location of the site, even those in close proximity to each other, and the period of record affect snowpack accumulation averages.

SCAS Precipitation Data

  • See Figure 2.1-3
  • Additional precipitation data shows rainfall as high as 40 inches at sites along the Mogollon Rim and near Flagstaff and as low as 4 inches in the vicinity of Cameron.

Click to view Table 2.1-1

Click for Table 2.1-1 Climate Data for the Little Colorado River Plateau Basin

Click to view Figure 2.1-3

Click for Figure 2.1-3 Little Colorado River Plateau Basin Meteorological Stations and Annual Precipitation

 

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