TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Monsoon 2021 has been incredible in more ways than one. From record breaking July rain to lower-than-average summer heat, this monsoon has been one to remember. No question, one of the biggest benefits of this year’s monsoon has been drought relief.
Even though monsoon has slowed down as of late, most southern Arizona communities are still running above average for monsoon rain totals. In Tucson, we have measured over a foot of rain since monsoon began and we’re within 2” of breaking the record for the all-time wettest monsoon ever recorded.
Much of the West and Upper Midwest are still suffering from extreme to exceptional drought conditions. However, in central and southern Arizona, several rounds of heavy rain have put a big dent in the drought. Many areas have received over 10” of rain since monsoon began on June 15th and this has helped ease our drought conditions that have plagued the region for over a year. Most of us are now seeing moderate drought conditions and even some dry conditions between Ajo and Yuma.
There is no doubt we’re far from erasing the drought, but we are in much better shape than we were just a few months ago. However, this could all rapidly change and we could find ourselves right back in extreme drought conditions if we don’t get any rain this fall.
The outlook for the autumn months of September, October and November is not looking promising for additional rainfall. The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above average temperatures and below average precipitation. The only thing that may alter this forecast is if the Eastern Pacific tropical region becomes more active and brings additional moisture to southern Arizona. Unfortunately, it does not appear the Eastern Pacific tropical weather is going to become much more active.
Based on the short-term forecasts and these long-range outlooks, it appears Tucson’s record for the all-time wettest monsoon ever recorded will stay in the books. One never knows for sure, though. One or two good rain events could change everything. We’ll see, but it appears monsoon 2021 is now living on borrowed time.