Finally the Monsoon season has made its yearly appearance. It always feels like our reward for surviving the month of June, which can be brutal with high temps and increasing humidity as the build-up to the Monsoon Season draws closer. I love the sight of clouds tinged heavy with rain filling the bright blue and endless skies above me. Our signal that the always much anticipated Monsoon time of the year has arrived.
Monsoon is an Arabic word that means "season". Although it is believed that Monsoon is used to describe the arrival of precipitation, it is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation. Today, the term is used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea.
In a nutshell, when you see the term Monsoon used by the media at this time the year it refers to the rainy phase of a seasonally-changing pattern. The key word being RAIN, and yes, with ever-increasing build-up of clouds above there will be moisture with cooler temperatures.
During the summer months in Arizona, the winds shift from west or northwest to a south or southeast direction. This shift is caused by the combination of the Bermuda high and the intense heat of the desert. A strong southerly flow brings in moisture from the Gulfs of California and Mexico. When the moisture encounters the higher terrain, it is lifted and can form thunderstorms with heavy rainfall, hail and strong gusty winds.
What it means to the less technical among us (myself included!) is that we will soon have relief from the triple digit heat as the rain cells tend to cool things off. Unfortunately however, the increased humidity on clear, sunny days can be very hard to handle for those of us who are fans of the "dry heat"!
Keep an eye out for those incredible double rainbows, unique cloud formations, and astounding storm patterns with a downpour in one area while the suns shines just miles away. If you have a camera close at hand, you are in for some once in a lifetime photos especially if you can capture the lightning that seems to come from every direction at the same time. It is truly a sight to behold...the power of Mother Nature during an Arizona Monsoon.