Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Sun, Sept. 19

Drought not likely to end this year, expert says<br>

Water from the Rodeo Well is being pumped into Kaibab Lake. The water will be stored at the lake in pre-paration for con-sumption at a later date

Precipitation accumulates twice annually — during the summer monsoon season and during winter storm tracks. The monsoons that come to the area July through September accumulate less than one-half of the annual precipitation. The remainder of the precipitation comes from winter storms. Snow pack is the best form of precipitation since it remains in the area longer and does not run off as quickly as rain, Howard said.

During periods of El Niño — in which significant precipitation is created by a persistent extended Pacific jet stream and an amplified storm track — moisture is abundant. El Niño can last between six and 18 months. The Williams area has not experienced an El Niño since 1998, said Howard.

Currently, northern Arizona is in a La Niña weather pattern. La Niña brings nearly opposite effects of El Niño. La Niña lasts indefinitely, he said.

Also modifying weather conditions is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which also influences El Niño and La Niña through ocean temperature anomalies in northeast and tropical Pacific Ocean. Northern Arizona is currently in a PDO long-term cycle that is a negative phase having an overall drying effect on the Southwest. The PDO is a longer phenomenon that can possibly last 20 years or longer, Howard said.

“The good news is we are a decade into it,” said Howard.

The forecast for the Williams area for April through June has equal chances for receiving an average amount of precipitation.

The drought will persist and may even intensify in June. The forecast for precipitation in July through September also has a 50/50 chance of receiving an average amount of precipitation. There is only a four to eight percent chance the drought will end by September, he said.

City staff began pumping water from the Rodeo Well on Monday. The water, pumped at a rate of 150-180 gallons per minute, will be transferred to Kaibab Lake. Work resumes on Dogtown III this week. Currently, city water levels are at 14 percent of the total capacity.

Other business

• Williams Unified School District Board President Janet Cothren presented council members with the WUSD and Williams Alliance Against Drug Abuse vision for the future of the school. Cothren stated that forming a partnership with the city would benefit the youth of the community.

“More collaboration is needed between the city and school,” said Gregory Ribas, WUSD board member.

The partnership will create a finer base of employees and jobs, he said.

“If children do not succeed and fail, they are more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse,” said Beth Packard on behalf of WAADA. “Good schools equals good business for the city.”

WUSD Superintendent Susan Scherz requested input from the city council. School board members and the city council will meet in the future to discuss the five-year action plan.

• The council approved the hiring of Gary Arend, Kathie Craig and Laura Boyack to serve as associate magistrates for the Williams City Court and Williams Justice Court. The three will replace former Associate Magistrate Kirby Keltner, who is relocating to southern Arizona. The hiring of the three will cost the city only $20 more per month.

• The council approved the formation of an Airport Committee. John Ashurst, Jerry Wilkerson, Craig Humas, Pete Wouters, Martin Merryman, Wayne Christensen and Reiner Uebel were approved as committee members. Staff appointees include city of Williams Field Operations Director Glenn Cornwell and George Barendse, airport maintenance person.

• The council approved the hiring of temporary personnel for Elephant Rocks Golf Course. Approval was also granted to start the hiring process for docents that will man the Smithsonian Museum exhibit Aug. 8- Sept. 19.

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