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Top 5 weather stories in 2012 for Tucson
Back to 2012 climate report
Top 5 weather stories in 2012 for Tucson

#1 - 2nd warmest year on record tied. The average temperature for 2012 of 71.3° was one-tenth of a degree shy of tying 1989 as the warmest year on record. 2012 started off with a record high (80°) on New Year's Day followed by a record high minimum on the 2nd (58°). The very warm temperatures continued through January 7th which ended up being the warmest first seven days of the calendar year on record. Every month in 2012, except for July, recorded above normal temperatures. Top 10 warmest months on record were recorded in January (4th), April (10th), May (7th), June (5th), August (4th) and November (3rd). Both the yearly average high temperature (85.6°) and yearly average low temperature (57.1°) will go into the record books as the 3rd warmest on record.

#2 - Dust storm hits metro area on May 9th. As a weather system moved through the state, it tapped into moisture to the south and developed isolated thunderstorms over portions of southeast Arizona. Outflow winds from a thunderstorm near Sierra Vista, with wind speeds of 45 to 55 mph, helped generate a dust storm that moved through the metro area between 2 PM and 3 PM. Here is a picture of the approaching dust storm taken from the NWS Tucson office. Picture of approaching Haboob in Tucson on May 9, 2012.
#3 - Heavy rains hit portions of the metro area before July 4th fireworks. Afternoon thunderstorms produced very heavy rain and street flooding mainly on the southwest to northwest sides of the metro area. Several rain gauges in Oro Valley recorded 3" of rain in less than one hour.
#4 - Downburst hits near Tucson mall on July 15th. A very strong thunderstorm produced wind speeds up to 60 mph and heavy rain. Wind damage was quite extensive near the Tucson mall, with numerous wooden power poll snapped along Oracle road from Limberlost to River Road. Some damage occurred in the Tucson mall, along with many trees being blown over.
#5 - 2nd earliest first 100° on record. Strong high pressure built over the desert southwest on the 21st and 22nd of April with Tucson flirting with the century mark (99°) on the 21st. On the 22nd, at 1:51 PM MST, the airport hit 100° for the first time in 2012. This became the second earliest occurrence of the first 100° on record and marked only the 5th time that the first 100° occurred in April. The earliest first 100° on record occurred on April 19, 1989.
Like all lists of this type, the order of significance is open to debate.


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