This year’s monsoon has been less than a wet-and-wild wonder, and forecasters say it might be on the verge of fizzling out altogether.
Tucson has received just 3.74 inches of rain since the monsoon began on June 15 — well below the normal 5.44-inch monsoon total for this point in September — and the city is more than 3 inches below normal rainfall for the year to date, said Carl Cerniglia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Those figures are for the official rain-measuring site at Tucson International Airport. Some other parts of the Tucson area have received more rainfall during the monsoon, and some have received less.
Don’t get your hopes up for a monsoonal grand finale that will make up the moisture deficit.
“We could be approaching the point of drying out” for the remainder of the monsoon, which officially ends on Sept. 30, Cerniglia said.
“There’s a small chance of afternoon or early-evening thunderstorms Saturday” — about 10 percent, he said. “But we dry out after that.”
Cerniglia noted that some other areas in Southeastern Arizona have received plentiful monsoon rains even as Tucson has drawn less-than-normal precipitation.
“It’s very different near Douglas, for example, where there are some spots pushing over 200 percent of normal for the monsoon period,” Cerniglia said. “They’ve got green pastures down there.”
At the same time, some sites in the Tucson metro area have received enough rainfall that residents might cock their heads in wonder when hearing about a shortage.
“Some parts of town, mainly south and east, toward Vail, have had more rain” than the airport, Cerniglia said.
The same goes for Sahuarita south of Tucson, with more than 7 inches of monsoon rain — and especially for the Summerhaven and Mount Lemmon areas in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. Some sites there have gotten more than 19 inches of monsoon moisture so far.
“It’s been an abundant year for rain up here,” said Bob Zimmerman, owner of Mount Lemmon Realty in Summerhaven.
“We’ve had gully-washers and big downpours, and also a lot of drawn-out, steady rains,” he said. “We’re getting up there close to 20 inches now.”