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Monsoon 2020: How much rain should we expect in Arizona?

Monsoon lightning - 8-28-19
Posted at 4:54 AM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 17:25:19-04

PHOENIX — Monsoon 2020 is officially here!

The season runs from June 15 to September 30 each year.

Monsoon marks the time of year when winds shift, bringing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California into Arizona.

That higher humidity combined with our sizzling summer heat creates the perfect conditions for powerful desert storms.

From drenching rain and blinding dust to damaging winds and picturesque lightning, we see it all this time of year.

Once again, it's likely going to be hotter than average, but as far as rainfall, the outlook isn't as clear cut.

This is thanks, in part, to the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), being in a "neutral" phase, meaning that the signal meteorologists use to determine how monsoon rainfall will shape up isn't there this year.

In 2019, El Nino was weak, which wasn't a favorable pattern for storms. In fact, last year was the third-warmest and ninth driest monsoon season on record, which is why many referred to it as a "non-soon."

The average rainfall amounts during the monsoon vary drastically statewide. While Phoenix typically picks up anywhere from 2 to 4" of rainfall, areas like Tucson and Flagstaff get anywhere from 6 to 8" in the summer. Most of that rainfall occurs from July to August.

There is some potentially good news, though!

"Given that much of Arizona was so dry last monsoon season, the likelihood remains very high that it be wetter than last year," stated the National Weather Service in a video outlining the monsoon forecast.

Governor Doug Ducey has officially proclaimed June 14 to June 20, 2020 as Monsoon Awareness Week.

During Monsoon Awareness Week, the ABC15 Forecasters and our local National Weather Service teams will highlight the hazards that come with our stormy season.