I got to experience the first storm of the Monsoon that hits Southern Arizona yesterday. The North American Monsoon as it is "officially" named occurs in late June across Southern and Central Arizona when the extreme surface heat combines with the a weakened high pressure over the state. The moisture from the Gulf of California to the Southwest then creeps into the area as the prevailing winds reverse.
The result are wonderfully strong afternoon thunderstorms that sweep through the region dumping large amounts of rain. They also tend to be preceded by strong winds and lightning making quite a show across the desert.
Yesterday the temperature went from about 105 degrees to about 73 degrees in just a few minutes as large storms moved up from Sierra Vista and Benson bringing strong winds and rain. The relief in temperature was amazing and made for a cool evening. The wind on the backside of the storm combined with the higher humidity and cool temperature made me almost feel I was at the beach!
I've missed thunderstorms this Spring which are a big part of life back east as the weather changes from winter to spring to summer.
This afternoon, there's been no rain but the temperature has remained in the mid 90's and the sky is overcast once more. It doesn't look like we'll be getting a good storm today but the relief is palpable when you're outdoors!
Certainly, the monsoon shows how different weather can be from what most people normally expect in the "desert"!