A promising cloud build-up on the last day of July.
|From Tucson Weather|
Well, that was a total bust. When I proposed the Round Robin topic "About the Weather," based on suggestions by Steven of (sometimes) photoblog (now defunct) and Julie of Julie's Web Journal, Tucson had just had a reasonably spectacular thunderstorm as part of our annual Arizona monsoon. Prime time for the monsoon is July and August, so I thought I'd almost certainly be able to photograph some more dramatic weather for you. If it didn't work out, I'd show you the less-dramatic weather we got instead. And if all else failed, I could always go with photos of dramatic weather from past years.
Plan B it is, then. You know how much rain Tucson has had in August? A tenth of an inch. Phooey. Average rainfall here in August is supposed to be 2.3", so we're well behind. Last year's monsoon fizzled in August also, with a total rainfall of 0.33" for the entire month. I wouldn't be at all surprised if our decade or more of drought turned out to be due to climate change. During 2001 to 2009, three years had a total rainfall for the season (mid-June to mid-September) of under three inches each, less than half of the current century-plus average of 6.06".
What typically happens is, we get a nice buildup of clouds in the afternoon, almost all of it over the mountains that surround the city. If the clouds spread to the sky overhead, an actual thunderstorm starts to seem likely. All too often, though, it rains over the mountains and leaves the city gasping for water - or it dissipates entirely, with no rain in the area at all. We're supposed to get about 11 inches of rain a year here in the desert, just over half of it during the monsoon. All too often recently, the monsoon hasn't done its job. Over the past decade, we've only had three years of above-average monsoon rainfall - and two of those were above average by less than three quarters of an inch.
Back at the beginning of July, when the photo above was taken, I had high hopes for this year's monsoon, and a greater-than usual longing for it. The humidity was building, making 100 degrees feel hotter than 114 degrees had in June. Every day I wondered, "Is it here yet? Is the monsoon coming? When is it going to rain and cool things off?" I kept checking the National Weather Service/NOAA site dedicated to the Arizona monsoon, looking for a notice that "The 2010 monsoon started on July 3, 2010" or somesuch. They used to post this info every year, based on the following calculation:
|The monsoon start date is determined when the average daily|
|dewpoint is 54 degrees or greater for "3" consecutive days.|
|The start date is the first of the "3" consecutive days.|
What I didn't know was that NOAA decided several years ago to stop naming the official start of the monsoon by this definition, probably because it's hard to compare monsoons from year to year without using the same date range for each. Now the monsoon officially starts on June 15th, whether the sky is ready or not. This year it wasn't. We had just under a quarter of an inch of rain in June.
When it does rain, it can make a huge difference in the temperature. Trust me, 76 degrees is unusually cool for a Saturday morning at the end of July!
Storm over St. Matt's.
Still, I should be grateful for the 2.30" in July. Besides, the season's not over yet. We may yet get a gullywasher or two.
P.S. It's 4:18 AM, and I just heard thunder! Hooray! So did Cayenne, and she's come to me for comfort.
Now let's go see what the weather has been like for other Robins:
as of 7:52 PM MST/PDT, August 14, 2010 (C)
Julie - Posted!
Julie's Web Journal
Karen - Posted!
Linda - Posted!
Freda - Posted!
Carly - Posted!
Jama - Posted!
Rich - Posted!
Sherrie **new blog!** - Posted!
Food for Thought
Ruth - Posted!
ellen b - Posted!
The Happy Wonderer
Sandy - Posted!
From the Heart of Texas
Erin - Posted!
A Hardcore Life
Rudo (Ethos) - Posted!
Passion in the Moments
Peggy - Posted!
Holmespun Fun Memes and Themes