Watching the news this morning they talked about summer monsoons in Northern AZ. When does this really start? We are getting ready to leave from Houston on our way to Utah through Northern AZ this Friday... What should we plan to expect?
The winds in northern Arizona have been strong the past few weeks. It has made fighting the forest fires in north east area more difficult.. Weather folks are talking about the monsoon mildly starting end of next week.
Monsoon season typically starts around the middle of July and runs to around the middle of September. The number and intensity of the thunderstorms will vary widely. You may get late afternoon, isolated rain showers possibly with lightning. There are also "dry" thunderstorms....lightning but no rain. The thing to look for is clouds. There is very little moisture in the atmosphere in Arizona. Once clouds form there is usually enough moisture for rain. The other thing to look for is virga: rain that evaporates before it gets to the ground. Look for dark, wispy shadows at the base of clouds. Try to plan your riding in the A.M., most of the monsoons take place later in the day...plus it is un-godly hot in the afternoon. Rain here is unlike the coastal area...it is usually isolated and short term in duration. It rarely rains over a widespread area for a long period of time. The other downside is that there are very few bridges to hide under during a rain storm and most of the drivers here have no clue as to how to drive in the rain....watch your 6 o'clock. My advice: enjoy your trip and don't sweat the rain too much.
Thank you all for your help! I'm sure the trip will be more than interesting. Next Friday we start off to the West. Ft Stockton TX the first day, then into NM on the second. Third to Winslow then up to Utah and over to Colorado and home. Nine days total.