Arizona has been hit with wave after wave of monsoon storms this past week, resulting in deadly flood-waters in Gila Bend and major street flooding in Flagstaff. We talked about this influx of monsoon rains with ASU Climatologist Randy Cerveny.
Why are we getting so many monsoon storms?
“The big result of that, is the incredibly hot temperature that they’ve had up in the northwest part of the United States and into Canada that hot air has allowed for an incredible amount of moisture to be funneled up from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California into Arizona. If you’ve noticed, this whole last couple of weeks, we have just been Florida-like in terms of our humidities. We’ve had dew points that have been up in the 70s and that is just really unheard of for Phoenix, but it provides the fuel, provides the moisture, for creating these really good rains,” Cerveny said.
Cerveny explained that after this surge of monsoons, Arizona will calm down for the time being. And will re-surge with monsoons around Labor day.
In regards to the drought, “I think we’ve always talked about the idea that wintertime rainfall, wintertime snowfall, is much much more useful for us in terms of the drought, but these summer rains have been really useful,” Cerveny said.
He continued that, “if we look at the current drought map for the western United States, what you will see is the one place that has gotten better, has been Arizona….California and the Northwest and Utah and Nevada, they still remain in deep drought, but where just a couple weeks ago, more than 80% of Arizona was in extreme drought, this week it’s only 6%. So, while we are still in a drought, no doubt about that, we have gotten a lot of relief in just the last couple of weeks,” Cerveny said.