This time of year we are reminded time and time again what a unique and incredible state Arizona is. Spring sprung and passed by in the blink of an eye. In fact, we experienced temperatures approaching triple digits as early as mid-April! While most of the nation welcomes April showers and eagerly anticipates May flowers, Arizona’s precipitation schedule does not neatly aline with a nursery rhyme.Phoenix experienced only two days of rain this April. When it comes to a rainy season, the residents of the Sonoran Desert have to be a little more patientas they count down the days to monsoon season. What exactly is monsoon season? When does it start and when does it end? Let’s find out!
Monsoon season is a yearly, predictable weather pattern that rolls across the Southwest United States every summer. It begins on June 15 and concludes on September 30. On average, Arizona received over 50 percent of its annual rainfall during these three torrential months. The official start date for the monsoon season was established in 2008 by the National Weather Service. The beginning of the monsoon season used to be tied to the dew point average. If the dew point average was above 55 for three days in a row, monsoons season was considered to have begun.
Characteristics of Monsoon Season
Monsoon season is characterized by sudden, powerful storms, brief torrential downpour, awe-inspiring bursts of lightning, towering, dark banks of Cumulus clouds, and dramatic wind shifts. The extent of the rainfall can vary greatly from distances as small as a few hundred feet. Arizona’s mountainous areas tend to see the most rain as storm systems break over the Mogollon Rim and the Sky Islands. The downpour of rain which comes with monsoon season is crucial to the survival of Arizona’s plant and wildlife.