PHOENIX — Thursday began like the 141 days before it, sunny and crisp, dust settling everywhere except on the record € set again € for the number of days without rain. Phoenix knows all about dry weather. It is a place where children are drilled throughout elementary school to conserve water, where hotels boast of covered parking areas not to protect from rain, but to offer a bit of shade. Grown men spread lotion all over their bodies every morning. Noses bleed. Newcomers watch in horror as their hands seem to age right in front of them. But even the desert suffers droughts, and this winter has brought a strong one, the fickle air currents pushing approaching storm clouds to the east. Until this year, the record for days without recorded rainfall was set in 2000, a measly 101 days. The recording instrument for rainfall is at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, referred to as “the bucket” by meteorologists, and drier than a Sunday morning during Prohibition. “People are sort of losing their grip,” said Gary Woodard, who, as associate director of the University of Arizona Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas, is […]

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