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Monsoon 2018 proved productive in SE Arizona

Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 20:05:16-04

The 2018 monsoon provided most of us with average or above average rainfall.  The season that runs from June 15th to September 30th had several gaps where we would go days without rain.  But, when the rains came, they really came in many cases. 

Rain deficits were erased in a matter of hours for many communities.  As is usually the case, there were some neighborhoods that just could never seem to get on the monsoon path.  The southwest side of Tucson was one of those areas where it seems the monsoon storms just avoided this year.  Other areas were favored.  The northwest side of Tucson extending west towards Avra Valley was a bit more active this summer.  This active area also extended northeast into areas like Catalina, San Manuel, and Mammoth.

For many of us, monsoon got off to a good start thanks to the remnant moisture from tropical storm Bud arriving just in time for the start of the season.  After that initial rain, we went right back into a hot, dry pattern that lasted until after the 4th of July.  From there, we had a pretty active July that carried us into August.  August brought some lengthy stretches between storms, but the storms that did develop were quite strong.  As compared to the last 30 years, monsoon 2018 ranks just a bit above average.

The bar graph shows a sampling of monsoon rainfall from a few southeastern Arizona communities.  Keep in mind, the rain total for Tucson comes from the Tucson International Airport.  The airport is the official recording location for all climate data for the Tucson area. 

If you live in neighborhoods on the northwest side or near the Catalina Foothills, you likely received more than 7” of rain during monsoon.  Compared to the last 30 years, Tucson did quite well.  We finished the season just about an inch above average which marks the 5th year in a row that we have had an average or above average monsoon. For another comparison, the wettest monsoon was when we received 13.84” of rain in 1964.  The driest monsoon was back in 1924 when we only received 1.59” of rain.