Monsoon? In Arizona? Yes. By definition monsoon is a season, not a single storm. It is a large-scale weather pattern that involves a seasonal wind shift over a particular region and is usually accompanied by an increase in atmospheric moisture and precipitation. Our monsoon season here in Arizona started June 15th and runs through September 30th.
Arizona’s monsoon forms when the sun heats the Pacific Ocean and land at different rates. The land warms at a faster rate than the ocean creating a low-pressure zone. As the hot air rises, it forces winds to shift and fill the vacuum that is formed. All of these, in turn, enhance rainfall and thunderstorms.
Arizona’s monsoon is the northern extent of the North American Monsoon, which begins in early June in central and southern Mexico. The dry westerly winds that persist through fall, winter and spring shift to moist southerly winds, bringing thunderstorm activity into Arizona. Humidity levels increase which can lead to thunderstorms, heavy rain, lightning, hail, high winds, flash flooding, dust storms, extreme heat and sometimes tornadoes.
What is the rainiest month in the desert? July. On average rain falls for 4.2 days and typically aggregates up to 1.1″ of precipitation. Doesn’t sound like much does it? It isn’t, however, these rain storms fall fast and furious over ground that resists soaking up the water and instead it runs off into the lower lying areas—the washes and rivers—and this runoff causes the flash floods that are so common here in the Grand Canyon State. They are exceedingly dangerous and can hit without warning.
In 2017 a visiting family of ten was swept away and perished from a storm that dropped rain higher up in the mountains and a flash flood seemly appeared out of nowhere in the river bed where they were enjoying their getaway.
It is wise to be aware of gathering storm clouds and where you are at all times. Put a weather alert app on your phone and heed any warnings you receive. Do not drive into rivers running even a little higher than normal. You have no idea what is under that water. The road could be gone and you would never know it until it’s too late.
Not My Photo
If it’s posted to turn around do so. There were four people, three of them children, lost last year during one of September’s storms when they ignored signs to turn around and tried to cross a flooded river. Arizona’s advice: Turn Around Don’t Drown.
Last September’s furious storm and flash flood watch that we experienced here after our summer spent exploring New Mexico was a nice introduction to what we can expect as we spend a full summer here in 2020.
A nice thunderstorm would be welcome right about now. It’s been HOT. Our first triple digits arrived in late April. We’d have a week of that then a week of high 80s or 90s then more triple digits. Now that June is here the high temps are here to stay. Twenty out of the last 24 days have all been triple digits with several 110 and above. Yeah, a good thunderstorm to cool things off for a few days would be nice. We take what we get, but one can wish, right?
I hope you all are well and happy. Check in with a howdy and let me know how you’re doing. I worry about ya! Hugs, Shawna
CURRENT READ: The Price of Paradise by Susana Lopez Rubio Set in Havana, Cuba in the 50s. ****