Monsoon rains deliver relief to hot, dry Arizona

Drought outlook
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Arizona’s monsoons have delivered much-needed rain last month throughout the state, with Tucson reporting a record breaking eight inches of rain.

On July 30, Tucson’s News 4 reported “Prior to tonight, the wettest month on record was 7.93 inches, set back in August 1955.  Records at Tucson go date back to 1894.”

Because of wildfire burn scars, the deluge of rainwater created flash flooding in the mining towns of Globe and MiamOpens in a new tab.i the past few days.  Other parts of the state, like FlagstaffOpens in a new tab., also experienced flash flooding over the month.  But the monsoons also brought much-needed drought relief to the state.

Drought Outlook Improves for Arizona and New Mexico.

With the monsoons, the U.S. Drought Monitor’s August 2021 outlook shows that while the drought remains, the outlook has improved for both Arizona and New Mexico.

As to Arizona, “recent monsoon rain has had a significant impact for the better,” US News & World ReportOpens in a new tab. wrote, noting that “52% of Arizona [is] in either extreme or exceptional drought, down from 84% last week.”  The Arizona Department of Water ResourcesOpens in a new tab. (ADWR) also had favorable news, reporting that “Monsoon rain can help rehydrate our soils, which helps get snowmelt runoff into the reservoirs. Also, some portion infiltrates into the ground and replenishes the aquifers. Not a lot, to be sure, but some.”

The Drought Is Not Over.

While the rain and cooler weather that comes with it is welcome, ADWR pointed out that this year’s record-breaking monsoon season is not an end to the decades-long drought.  “[T]ruth be told, summer storms just aren’t drought-killers. Fending off drought – especially the kind of long-running drought the Southwest has experienced — takes deep winter snowpack in the region’s mountainous watersheds. After more than two decades of dry conditions, it would take several consecutive years of deep snowpack to release from drought’s grip.”

The monsoon season continues until September 30.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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August 3, 2021 8:04 pm
Well, I can certainly attest to the force and ferocity of July’s storms. The fire season is always horrific and this seasons flooding has caused many problems in the area. It is very nice to see lakes and reservoirs loaded with fresh water.

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