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A Monsoon Season for the Ages, and It’s Not over Yet


It’s been an incredible monsoon season in the Southwestern United States. And yes, more rain is on the way.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Simon are quickly pushing northeast into Arizona, ready to dump more tropical rains on the deserts of the Southwest. In fact, the rain has already started in extreme southeastern California and southwestern Arizona, and it’s primed to move into Las Vegas and Phoenix overnight and into Wednesday.

It’s the cherry on top of what’s already been a massive, and in some cases, record-setting monsoon season. Here’s a look at some of the top rainfall totals in the Southwest during the monsoon season, which officially ended on Sept. 30:

Phoenix: Actual: 6.30″ Average: 2.70″

Nogales, AZ: Actual: 16.37″ Average: 10.73″

Albuquerque, NM: Actual: 5.67″ Average: 4.61″

Also, Phoenix saw its greatest single-day rainfall total on Sept. 8, with 3.29″ of rain that day alone.

The epic season in the Eastern Pacific has already featured 19 named storms (well over the 1981-2010 seasonal average of 15), including 9 major (Category 3 or greater) hurricanes has pushed an unusual amount of tropical moisture northward into the desert Southwest. The monsoon season is, rather simply, a shift in wind direction due to the differential heating of land and the sea, which pumps in moisture from both the eastern Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico, bringing two top sources of moisture to the usually parched region. But with an active tropical season, more rain has been able to move its way north into the deserts.

The good news? The drought for parts of the Southwest has been wiped away in recent months, largely due to the huge rainfall totals. Here’s a look at the drought monitor over the Southwest, with a mostly light-to-moderate drought encompassing the region after a far more severe rainfall deficit plagued the region earlier this year:

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 4.32.25 PM

We’ll have you covered on the possible flooding all week long here on and on WeatherNation.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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