WHITE MOUNTAINS — If you’ve been wondering why we had monsoon type weather the last few weeks, you are not alone. Monsoon season doesn’t start officially until June 15 and runs through the end of September. We had 90 degree weather in May followed by several days of thunderstorms and rain in some locations.
Now, in the first week of June, the weather seems more like early spring with lower temperatures and very windy conditions.
In a “typical” monsoon season the rain and thunderstorms don’t usually start until late June or the first week of July. However, when dealing with Mother Nature and the weather, nothing is set in stone.
Here in Arizona, a good monsoon season is hoped for every year because of the fire danger and the fact that we get up to 50 percent of our annual rainfall during the summer.
Monsoon season starts with intense heating of the land over Mexico and the southwestern U.S. This causes large-scale wind shifts that bring moist tropical air to our region. The moisture comes from the Gulf of California and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
There are many different variables that influence the weather and monsoon season and many predictions are made based on the conditions of temperature, high and low pressure systems, and El Nino and La Nina years.
When the temperature gets into the 90’s in June in the White Mountains, fire danger is high, but the heat helps bring in the wind shifts and moisture that our mostly dry climate needs.
So, what is the prediction for this summer? After researching weather websites, including the National Weather Service out of Flagstaff, the predictions range from a fairly normal season to slightly above or below normal.
The good news is we will have a monsoon season. How much rain we get and how often is anyone’s guess.