The southwestern part of the United States experiences a monsoon season every year. Yes, the desert areas of Arizona, Phoenix for example, do see rain. And sometimes it can flood and cause major problems.
Over the last few days, the "Arizona Monsoon" has been in full force. Scattered storms this week have caused flash flooding to occur on multiple roadways; at least two water rescues were reported after vehicles were overtaken by water. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has reported flight delays of around 30 minutes at times due to heavy rainfall. Not all of phoenix has seen rain, these storms have been isolated in nature and have hit one town while totally missing another.
The "Arizona Monsoon," or any monsoon for that matter is commonly thought of as a period of extreme wetness with a lot of flooding, but that is only half right and not always the case.
The word "monsoon" is actually derived from the Arabic word "mausim" which means "wind-shift" or "season." Monsoon is really just a season and its simply a change in wind direction. Usually the winds come from the north or northwest in Arizona, but during the monsoon, the winds come out of the south or southeast. That southerly wind brings in moist air from the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico, increasing dew points and increasing the chance for rain. Not only is rain a concern during the monsoon, but so are dust storms that can occur due to strong winds.
The official start to the Arizona Monsoon season is June 15 and it ends on September 30. Those dates can fluctuate each year and each monsoon brings different outcomes. Lastly, just because it is monsoon season doesn't necessarily mean you'll experience monsoon conditions. Meteorologists define a "monsoon day" as a day with dew points averaging out at 55 degrees or higher (which is humid for Arizona standards).
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Sunday, September 14 2014 6:05 PM EDT2014-09-14 22:05:04 GMT
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