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Major Monsoon: Tucson Breaks Records in Start to Season

24 Jul 2017, 2:37 pm

The monsoon season usually brings big rains to the desert Southwest, but for parts of the region, it’s been a non-stop deluge that’s breaking records.

Specifically, Tucson, Arizona has been on the receiving end of daily bouts of monsoonal downpours. Those bouts of heavy rain have piled up to the tune of 4.05″ of rainfall so far in July, making it Tucson’s wettest month overall since July 2012. July is Tucson’s wettest month on average, but with only 2.23″ typically – making this month so far about double the norm.

Other impressive figures from Tucson’s busy July include four straight days with at least 0.20″ of rainfall in Tucson (through Sunday), tying the second-longest streak on record. The city’s also seen measurable rainfall in 12 of the last 14 days, a rare instance in a desert city that averages only 11.30″ of rain a year.

The annual southwest monsoon is caused by the intense heating in desert regions, forming an area of low pressure that pulls in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico due to associated wind reversals. In many cases, the moisture from the monsoon supplies about half of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico’s annual rainfall, but deadly flash floods can and often do occur from this sudden annual burst of rain.

The monsoon stays in place for much of the upcoming week, with daily chances for showers and thunderstorms to add to the big rain surplus in Tucson and throughout much of Arizona for the week ahead. But storm and rain chances overall drop down for much of this week, providing a needed respite from the recent heavy rains.

Stay with WeatherNation through the rest of the monsoon season.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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