We are about 2 weeks into Monsoon season (June 15th – September 30th) and the thunderstorms are starting to get aggressive across the Southwestern U.S.A. Often times the word “monsoon” is used to describe a single thunderstorm however that is technically incorrect. The word monsoon describes the season and the more large scale wind shift across the Southwest.
There are two main factors that help trigger these thunderstorms during monsoon season. The first, an upper level high pressure which brings in a southwesterly flow of moisture from Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico. The second factor are surface low pressure centers which are created in the desert southwest in the summer months due to the extreme heat which are also known as “Thermal Lows”. These thermal lows are non-frontal low pressure centers which cause air parcels to rise and in return help produce the thunderstorms that are seen during monsoon season.
These storms can create all kinds of weather impacts. Thunderstorms, flash flooding, gusting winds and dust storms.
Headline image: DJ Vegh / Aerial Sphere, LLC