“Monsoon season” 2021 began with scattered wind and thunderstorms. Will the pattern hold?
Now fixed to a specific day, “monsoon season” in Arizona began officially on Tuesday, June 15, with a surprisingly active display of summer thunderstorm power. Scattered rain was reported in the State’s eastern mountains and around metro Tucson, and strong wind gusts knocked down powerlines near Apache Junction in the eastern reaches of the Valley of the Sun.
In short, Arizonans didn’t need to hear the announcement that “Arizona Monsoon Awareness Week” (June 13-19) had arrived. The powerful summer storms announced their arrival all by themselves.
Arizona’s summer monsoon storms are the result of a change of wind patterns that uses the Southwest’s strong summer heat to draw moist wind currents north out of the Republic of Mexico. With the powerful down-drafting winds the storms often produce, they can billow up the spectacular (and, for drivers especially, very dangerous) mountainous dust clouds that can precede rain and thunderstorms as the storms march north through the Sonoran desert.
And, in a normal year, they can produce an important portion of the State’s annual supply of moisture – a portion rendered almost nil last summer thanks to that season’s very weak “non-soons.”
What does this summer’s monsoon hold in store? Arizona Water News talked recently with our monsoon expert, ADWR Water Resources Specialist Némesis Ortiz-Declet, about what Arizonans can expect this year.
Némesis is ADWR's Drought and Conservation Programs Coordinator. She works with the state's Drought Monitoring Technical Committee and the Drought Interagency Coordinating Group. The work and information that comes from these groups helps natural resources managers, decision makers, and the general public better understand drought conditions and prepare for drought impacts in Arizona