2023 monsoon season begins

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Thursday, June 15, is the official start of monsoon season. This year’s monsoon has been forecasted to have drier-than-normal conditions with above-normal temperatures. Randy Cerveny, a climatologist and Professor of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss what we can expect to see this year.

Though the monsoon started June 15, it will be a while before any storms or moisture hit Phoenix. Cerveny explained the monsoon starts early to ensure citizens are aware of what will be happening in order to be well-prepared once the storms start.

“It’s kind of a heads-up. The true start to the monsoon isn’t going to happen until about the first week of July or so,” said Cerveny.

“During the monsoon, we’ll usually see a decrease in temperatures because we start having clouds. Well, if we’re not going to have clouds, we’re going to have a lot of sun. The way that this is working is that our two unfortunate words that we often associate with Arizona, ‘hot and dry,’ are what the National Weather Service are forecasting for the coming months,” said Cerveny.

One factor as to why Arizona can expect a mild monsoon is the lack of storms happening in Mexico right now. Usually around this time of year, thunder storms start to hit the west coast of Mexico, but the storms have been significantly more mild than usual. Because of this, Cerveny forecasted the thunderstorms will begin in Arizona around late July, as opposed to the first week of July.

“I have better hopes for the end of the monsoon than I do for the start. Because, as we are progressing through the monsoon and getting into fall, we’re going to be switching also to El Niño. El Niño means that we start to have more and more storms, particularly hurricanes, that are off the coast of Mexico that start warming. Some of the moisture from those hurricanes can get pulled up into Arizona. I’m more optimistic about late August and September about having more rain coming into Arizona,” said Cerveny.

Randy Cerveny, climatologist and Professor of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University

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