A month into the monsoon and the mosquitoes are manifestby Hugh Holub on Jul. 29, 2011, under tucson life and heritage
Supplies of anti-itch cream are growing short as the annual crop of monsoon mosquitoes matures.
Our monsoon mosquitoes are evolving every year.
This year we’ve noticed that the mosquitoes are not being bothered by mosquito repellent because they fly in, hit your skin and fly back really quickly. They do this many times. One mosquito…many bites.
The other day I was being stalked by a monsoon mosquito who waited until I had a tool in my hands before trying to attack. By the time I let go with one hand to swat the sucker, she was gone. I’d put the tool down and the mosquito would just hang back a few feet waiting.
They’ve gotten inside the house and that usually means we will be battling the mosquito invasion until at least October unless we can find every place they have found to breed like the dishes under the house plants. The outside mosquitoes wait by the doors to get inside.
Eons ago when I lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas we had mosquito nets hanging over our beds. I wonder if one can even buy one of these in Tucson these days. A few more nights of the bedroom mosquito clan and it is going to get really serious.
The pig weed is exploding all over the property. As noted last season, pig weed is also evolving intelligence to evade efforts to eradicate it. There are lots of other kinds of weeds out there as well. I suppose they have names and purposes in the grand scheme of things. But it is Roundup Time.
Hard to remember the property was devoid of anything green a month ago. Now the stuff is two feet high and it looks like Ireland.
So far this year no leaks in the roof. I have come to hate flat roofs.
If you look around the really older parts of the area…the original adobes that had flat roofs…you see peaked roofs with tin on them.
When the railroad finally arrived in Tucson and tin became widely available, it didn’t take long for people to build new roof structures. We have a mix of Mexican Territorial style buildings with Victorian roof lines. Keeping rainwater away from adobe is really important. Hooray for tin.
Usually each monsoon we have three really big storms. Lots of flooded washes and motorists getting educated about why there are signs that say “do not enter when flooded“. So far this season most areas have had one rock’em sock’em storm…meaning there’s two more to come.
Down at our end of the valley we’ve had over 3 inches of rain according to the Pima County Flood Control District rain gage report. Most areas on the valley floor have had half that amount. Most of us can expect around 6 inches of rain during the monsoon…so if this is a normal season, a lot more rain is going to fall.
Another monsoon event we haven’t experienced yet this season is the dawn storm…that wakes us all up with the sound of thunder.
The monsoon is the favorite time of most hard core Tucsonans. Spectacular lightning shows. Days starting hot and humid and ending with a Wagnerian symphony that starts with clouds on the horizon, peaks with wind and drenching rain, and fading slowly into the sounds of happy frogs.
This is the most alive time on the Sonoran Desert. Everything is taking advantage of a rare abundance of life-giving water and growing. South of Tucson Interstate 19 has a ribbon of yellow flowers on its edges. The hillsides are turning green…even in the fire damaged areas.
Still to come…a tropical storm or hurricane rainout. The storms form off the coast of Mexico and plow into Arizona…generally at the end of September or early October. One of these years we’re going to get another really big hurricane rainout and remind everyone why people really should not be allowed to build anything in our flood plains.
What is your favorite aspect of the monsoon?