2021 was a banner year for the monsoon season in the southwestern U.S. Monsoon season begins June 15th and runs through the end of September. The success of the monsoon has a lot to do with the atmospheric setup (above). As we tally up some of the numbers from this season, we had quite a few big winners! Monsoon storms can be such “hit and miss”, so areas like Albuquerque may have seen below average monsoonal rainfall, but a successful season in the state overall.
At WeatherNation, we had the opportunity to speak with National Weather Service offices around the 4 Corners regions with more on how this season stacked up!
This year, Arizona had one of its most active monsoon seasons to date. Tucson had its third wettest season on record with more than twice the average amount of monsoonal rainfall!
🌵🌩️In the case of rainfall for the Tucson monsoon season…..
2021….. You are NOT the wettest monsoon on record.
— NWS Tucson (@NWSTucson) October 1, 2021
Heavy rainfall has drastically decreased the extreme and exceptional drought across the southwest. At the beginning of the season we had widespread extreme and exceptional drought across the area.
Headed into the last week of September, you can see the improvements on drought made across the I-25 corridor in New Mexico and in Arizona. Some dryness has worked back into Colorado, and example that the monsoon doesn’t solve every precipitation problem.
Monsoon season increased cloud cover and rainfall, which helped reduce temperatures following record heat for the southwest early in the summer. In Phoenix, we saw nearly a record amount of rain-days during this year’s monsoon season.
With measurable rain (0.01" or more) today at Sky Harbor, this brings the number of days with measurable rain to 23 days for this year's monsoon. This now ranks 2nd, 1 day behind the 1896 record. With a chance for rain tonight/tomorrow, there's a shot at tying the record. #azwx pic.twitter.com/MuwJws52rf
— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) September 27, 2021
According to Marvin Percha, a Meteorologist for NWS Phoenix, “This June was the hottest June on record, July and August were both below normal, a big, welcomed change in that respect from this year’s active monsoon.”
Today marked the 103rd day with 100°+ temperatures this year in Phoenix, which is still slightly below normal at this point in the year. We're not expecting to add much to this number over the next week as forecast highs remain in the 90s most days. #azwx pic.twitter.com/0L1vZy3n99
— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) September 23, 2021
Unfortunately, the heavy rain saturated the ground causing widespread deadly flash flooding, with over 20 deaths this season across the southwest United States. Hundreds of flash flood warnings were issued across the four-corners, especially over recent area burn scars.
Even though monsoon season officially ends on September 30th, Mother Nature can still bring heavy rain and flash flooding into the fall months.