Williams monsoons: Where have all the storms gone?

(Arizona Monsoon storm, file art)

(Arizona Monsoon storm, file art)

Yearly monsoon moisture June 15 – Aug 15

2010: 9.36”

2011: 2.81”

2012: 4.5”

2013: 5.29”

2014: 7.24”

2015: 4.07”

2016: 6.38”

2017: 6.96”

2018: 6.42”

2019: 2.98”

*Average monsoon moisture is 4.83”

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Northern Arizona residents looking forward to the cooling rains, mild temperatures and dramatic skies of the annual monsoon season have reason to be a little disappointed this year: the winds blowing in from the Pacific have kept the moisture to southeastern parts of the state.

“An unusually persistent westerly or southwesterly flow from the Pacific has kept a relatively dry air mass over northern Arizona, keeping the moist monsoon air mass to our south and east,” said Brian Klimowski at the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.

Klimowski said the first rainfall associated with the monsoon season fell in Williams July 22, about a month after the weather event typically begins. The average rainfall for the first two months of the monsoon season is 4.98 inches. Williams is currently sitting at 2.98 inches, and Klimowski said rains aren’t expected to return until around the end of August. Monsoon season officially ends around the middle of September.

Although conditions seem far below average, with many people calling it the non-soon season, Klimowski said it’s not Williams’ driest season on record.

“Since 1900, it’s the 27th driest monsoon so far,” he said. “In the past 10 years, this is the second-driest monsoon season through Aug. 15.”

Klimowski said the agency gathers information from both automated gauges and manual observers in the local area. Through the Cooperative Observer Program administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, volunteers collect data such as temperature and rainfall from maintained observation sites.

According to Klimowski, the next week or so looks dry, but monsoon moisture is expected to return toward the end of August through early September.

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