Late arrival of monsoon appears to be getting closer

(Arizona's Family)
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 7:12 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Some residents southeast of Tucson saw some showers and thunderstorms over the weekend, but Tucson residents are still waiting.

The National Weather Service in Tucson said there are several reasons for the delayed start to monsoon.

“We had a lot of snow over the Rockies this winter, which can sometimes delay the northward progression of that monsoon high,” said Kenneth Drozd, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Tucson. “Another reason is maybe slightly related to the developing El Nino that we have in the warmer temperatures in the eastern Pacific. This can also affect the weather patterns which gives us a sluggish start to our monsoon in July.”

They said it is not easy to predict when we will have our first big storm, but it could soon be around the corner.

“We do have some showers and thunderstorms in the forecast for the next few days. We’re hoping that we’ll at least get something up here into the Tucson area,” said Drozd. “But it’s not looking like, right now, a huge start to it. But we still have at least better chances than we had last week.”

As conditions begin to change it is a good reminder to be ready when the first storms hit. These storms could bring high winds, thunderstorms and flash flooding.

The 13 News First Alert Weather Team also said drier conditions could mean the potential for more dangerous flooding.

“When it’s drier the ground becomes harder and becomes more impermeable. So instead of some of that rain soaking into the ground, you’re instead seeing less or maybe even none of the rain sinking into the ground,” said Cory Kowitz, First Alert Meteorologist. “All of that rain that falls stays above the surface. You could have more puddling, more runoff and more flash flood issues in the end.”

The risk for more wildfires will also continue until there is some moisture.

“You can still get some new starts with any thunderstorms that occurs here until we really have more moisture into our area that keeps the humidity in here throughout the day,” said Drodz.

The late start does not mean the first storm will be more dangerous. But one thing people should be aware of is the wind when it finally happens.

“Sometimes we have some very some damaging winds that occur with some of the first storms because you still have some kind of mixture of wet and dry air and the air it’s very hot as well,” said Drozd.

The delayed start to monsoon could lead to bigger picture worries.

“If we don’t pick up the monsoon as we get into the latter half of July and into August, it could start increasing drought concerns,” said Drodz.

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