2021 Monsoon Season Comes to a Close

Date: 2021-09-29 22:18:45

2021 was a banner year for the monsoon season in the southwestern U.S. Monsoon season begins June 15th and runs through the end of September. The success of the monsoon has a lot to do with the atmospheric setup. 

According to Greg Heavener, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for NWS Pueblo, “This spring and summer we pretty much had a classic North American monsoon set-up with high pressure down to the south of Colorado which pumped in a lot of moisture from the pacific ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico into the state, that provided ample moisture for us to wring out.” 

 

Heavy rainfall has drastically decreased the extreme and exceptional drought across the southwest. At the beginning of the season we had widespread extreme and exceptional drought across the area. 

Headed into the last week of September, you can see the improvements on drought made across the I-25 corridor in New Mexico and in Arizona. Some dryness has worked back into Colorado, and example that the monsoon doesn’t solve every precipitation problem.

This year, Arizona had one of its most active monsoon seasons to date. Tucson had its third wettest season on record with more than twice the average amount of monsoonal rainfall! 

Monsoon season increased cloud cover and rainfall, which helped reduce temperatures following record heat for the southwest early in the summer. In Phoenix, we saw nearly a record amount of rain-days during this year’s monsoon season. 

 

According to Marvin Percha, a Meteorologist for NWS Phoenix, “This June was the hottest June on record, July and August were both below normal, a big, welcomed change in that respect from this year’s active monsoon.”

Unfortunately, the heavy rain saturated the ground causing widespread deadly flash flooding, with over 20 deaths this season across the southwest United States. Hundreds of flash flood warnings were issued across the four-corners, especially over recent area burn scars. 

Even though monsoon season officially ends on September 30th, Mother Nature can still bring heavy rain and flash flooding into the fall months.




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