Monsoon arrives in Cochise and Santa Cruz countiesby Hugh Holub on Jun. 28, 2011, under environment water and energy
Updated Wednesday June 29, 2011:
First we saw a few little puffs of cloud over the mountains to the south.
Then more clouds each morning.
Sunday we saw the first for real thunderstorm over the mountains in Mexico.
Tuesday June 28th we had thunderstorms over eastern Santa Cruz and Cochise counties.
The dew point Wednesday morning was 52 degrees…up from the 20s a few days ago.
It has been blisteringly hot the last few days…the precursor of the Monsoon. It seems we have to endure temperatures over 110 to suck all that moisture up from Mexico to start the Monsoon.
What is the “monsoon”. The official definition is a seasonal change of the winds.
The Arizona Monsoon may not be like the one that dumps buckets of rain on India…but it is crucial for what we know as the Sonoran Desert.
Our desert depends on two rainy seasons…the winter storms and the summer Monsoon.
One does not have to go too far west where the Monsoon does not regularly reach to see the sudden change in vegetation…or lack thereof.
We have two summers in southern Arizona…hot dry summer in June and then Monsoon summer in July and August and into September.
It used to be the onset of the Monsoon was defined as three consecutive days with dew points over 55 degrees. That was changed to a “seasonal” definition starting June 15 and running into September by the National Weather Service.
I like the 55 degree dewpoint one better.
Old timers know the day the Monsoon arrives…there is a rush of humid air that blankets the valleys and we just feel the difference. It may not rain for a couple of more days…but we know the days of cool nights and effective evaporative cooling is over.
And we know mosquito time is coming soon.
Nights during the Monsoon are spectacular with lightning shows over the mountains.
This year we’re all praying for a lot of rain and no lightning so the forests can be saved.
Tuesday night’s storms sparked three small fires in Santa Cruz County.
Historically the “fire season” really didn’t start until the first dry thunderstorms of the Monsoon set off forest fires.
That has obviously changed, with the fire season starting in March now.
Our forest lands need to be closed much earlier in the summer than in the past because of careless campers and people running around the wild lands that shouldn’t be there who many believe started some of the 2011 fires.
A lesson learned for next season.
Maybe the border will actually be secured by 2012 summer.
Checking the property to make sure roof leaks are repaired and stuff won’t be blown away by the strong winds that come with the Monsoon thunderstorms.
Cleaning out the gutters.
Watching strange colorful bugs scurrying around the mesquite trees.
The entire countryside is begging for the rains to come this season.