Understanding Arizona’s Monsoon Season
The thing to understand about Arizona’s Monsoon season is in the name, as it is not simply called a “rainy season.” The deluge of a year’s rainfall crowded into fifty-six days over the summer can easily drown out the everyday desert scenery. To understand the Arizona monsoon season you have to look at weather in a global sense and the cause and effect relationship each region has meteorologically. In addition to the weather, you have to take in account for people’s reactions, and preparedness for these brief, but intense outbursts of rain and hail.
Arizona can boast an average of three hundred days of sunshine per year, which equates to a mere sixty-five days of weather. These conditions vary through out the state with the patchworks of desert being the epicenters of the most intense conditions, with more temperate climate conditions at higher altitudes. This dry desert air will draw moisture from the south, and quickly heat the moisture to form sudden and intense storms. As the sun moves west, the heat from the desert will rise to mix with the warm air in the sky, condensing the moisture into slivers of heavy rainfall that often only effect one side of a given street.
Compared to the Monsoons around the world that typically flirt with hurricanes and typhoons, the Arizona’s Monsoon season is less dramatic. The combination of intense summer heat dries and hardens the ground, which reduces the absorption rate of the rainwaters, leading to flash floods. Simple precautions will prevent any hazards during an Arizona Monsoon tirade, for example: never enter a “wash” during an arizona Monsoon storm, or any roadway that has flooded. Seek shelter as many storms have hailstones and lightening that accompany their arrival, be prepared if the power goes out. Most Arizona Monsoon storms are brief, but can be costly and dangerous for those who are unaware and ill prepared.
During the month of July until the first week of August is considered Arizona’s Monsoon season and most likely to experience heavy rainfalls, according to Arizona department of Agriculture at http://ag.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/html/weather/monsoon.htm, which also includes valuable information about Arizona’s Monsoons, and the dangerous lightening and flooding which may occur during the storms. As with any natural occurrence that is out of the ordinary though, you must consider that the most dangerous element during an Arizona Monsoon storm is the human element. Continuing a game of golf during a storm, driving around barriers and entering a flooded roadway, or even swimming in a flooded wash, are all unnecessary hazards that not only risk your life, but the lives of the rescue responders. The best understanding of Arizona’s Monsoon is to understand that it will not last long and that the safest place to be is off the roadway, enjoying the amazing experience of a desert rain.