With 37 days remaining for the monsoon to produce rain, Tucson has collected nearly its average total for the season.
Parts of midtown have reported more than twice the amount — 5.8 inches — that fell on the official gauge at Tucson International Airport. The normal total for the monsoon period of June 15 to Sept. 30 is 6.08 inches.
“Tucson has done amazingly well,” said climatologist Mike Crimmins of the University of Arizona. The citizen scientists of rainlog.org have recorded up to 13.85 inches of rain since the monsoon’s June 15 onset. Totals of 6-to-8 inches are common in the center of Tucson.
The rain that drenched downtown and, especially, the northern parts of midtown, came in big, soaking, chunks.
Midtown was “lucky or unlucky,” depending on your point of view, said Crimmins, receiving “two or three of the biggest rain events of the season.”
Rain is always welcome in Tucson, he said, but when it fell all at once at the end of June, the end of July and the second week of August, “all it ended up doing was turning into flood flows and being more dangerous.”
Statewide, the monsoon has struggled to meet expectations, Crimmins said, but that’s not the perception most people have.
“A good monsoon for Arizona is when Phoenix and Tucson get a lot of rain because that’s when it gets noticed.”
Western Pima County and Pinal County have been “shortchanged,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Drozd in his monsoon halftime report, while parts of Pima and Cochise counties received two to three times normal rainfall.
There is little rain in the extended forecast. The prediction for the end of August is drier than normal, said Drozd.