Think you can handle the heat? Welcome to Arizona, where summer temperatures are nothing short of scorching! Home to some of the highest temperatures in the country, Phoenix alone experiences a blistering 111 days of temperatures soaring over 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. It’s no wonder then that the rare rainy day is a much-anticipated event for the sun-scorched Arizonians.
Brace yourself for the sweet, intoxicating smell of impending monsoon that sweeps across Arizona’s communities, heralding intense thunderstorms and flash floods. But there’s a silver lining – the monsoon, a literal breath of fresh air, brings relief from the dry heat and paints the sky with the most stunning sunsets of the year. But beware – this grand spectacle of nature isn’t for the faint-hearted or ill-informed!
Intrigued? Here’s the lowdown on Arizona’s fascinating monsoon season.
What exactly is a monsoon, you ask?
This season of rainstorms that breathes life into the desert originates from the Arabic word “mausim”, aptly translating to “season”. As Marvin Percha, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, puts it, “A monsoon is a large-scale change in overall weather pattern.”
The recipe for a monsoon?
A healthy dose of wind direction change, a sprinkle of moisture, and a generous helping of daytime heating. The wind shifts from south to southeast in the summer, carrying moisture from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to create streams to the north.
Combine this with Arizona’s blistering daytime heat, and voila – you’ve got the perfect conditions for monsoon storms.
These storms aren’t just a spectacle – they’re a lifeline. In the Southwest, where water is gold, “40 to 50 percent of the annual precipitation falls during monsoon season.”
When should you pack your bags for this monsoon adventure?
The Arizona monsoon season typically rolls in around June and lasts until September. But keep in mind, these dates simply indicate a higher chance of storms, so don’t be caught off-guard if the skies stay clear.
Is it just a fancy name for a storm?
Not at all! In fact, a monsoon is a much larger pattern of winds and rain spanning large geographic areas, even encompassing an entire continent or the globe, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
What can you expect during a monsoon?
Picture this: high atmospheric pressure strengthens over northern Mexico and drifts northward during the summer months, leading to a weather pattern reversal across the Southwest. So, while storms typically move from west to east in the spring, they’ll be moving from east to west in the summer. This shift brings high levels of moisture to the desert landscape, setting the stage for periodic rain showers and thunderstorms.
What’s the monsoon forecast for Phoenix?
Brace for the rainiest month, July, with an expected rainfall of about 1 to 1.05 inches. June, on the other hand, is the driest month of the monsoon with an average rainfall of just 0.02 inches.
Are you ready for the monsoon madness? Stay safe with these tips from the City of Phoenix:
- Resist the temptation to drive through flooded roads. The water could be deeper than it appears!
- Beware: just six inches of water can send most cars spinning out of control.
- A mere two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups.
- Barricades are there for a reason. Don’t try to drive around them.
- Approach non-working or flashing traffic signals at intersections as a four-way stop. Safety first!
Monsoons, with their blend of beauty and danger, bring Arizona to life in the summer. This thrilling season is a roller-coaster ride of scorching heat, torrential downpours, and breathtaking sunsets. But remember, as alluring as the monsoon season may be, it’s not without its perils. Stay informed, stay prepared, and most importantly, stay safe.
So, are you ready to witness the grandeur of Arizona’s skies? Brace yourself, because the desert is about to put on a spectacular show. Whether you’re an adventure junkie, a weather enthusiast, or simply a lover of nature’s raw beauty, the Arizona monsoon season is an experience you won’t want to miss!
Hold on to your hats, because when the monsoon hits, it’s more than just a storm – it’s a season, an experience, a spectacle like no other. BE PREPARED.