Southwest monsoon season begins with a mixed bag of expectations

Monsoon storm clouds
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June 19, 2023 — The monsoon season officially began on June 15.  In the Southwest, monsoon seasonOpens in a new tab. is associated with a shift in wind patterns that blow tropical air toward typically desert locations.

Arizona: A Drier Forecast Ahead.

Arizona’s monsoon season is predicted to be drier than usual with temperatures climbing above average, according to Arizona’s Public Broadcasting Service.

California: Preparing for the Threat of Debris Flows.

Southern California faces a different challenge during the monsoon. Fox 5Opens in a new tab. warns that bouts of heavy rain often lead to flash flooding in the region. This becomes worrisome in areas scarred by wildfires, often referred to as “burn scars.” According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the soil in these regions, having been scorched by wildfires, becomes as impervious to water as pavement. This can lead to chaotic and dangerous situations during periods of high intensity, short-duration rainfall, particularly in areas with steep slopes. NWS warns of debris flowOpens in a new tab.s, where gravity-driven masses of residual debris can hurtle down at speeds up to 100 mph, causing destruction in their path. Such risks remain, NWS notes, even two years after a wildfire, emphasizing the need for preparedness in these vulnerable areas.

New Mexico: Persisting Trend of Weak Monsoons.

In New Mexico, the prognosis for the monsoon season is bleak. The Farmington Daily TimesOpens in a new tab. cites a recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. The forecast for June, July, and August suggests that most of the state will experience above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall, continuing the trend of weak monsoons that have marked the 21st century. On a more positive note, the report also suggests that the western two-thirds of New Mexico has received sufficient moisture over the last year to significantly alleviate the drought conditions that have been persistent for years.


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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