Arizona National Guard helps evacuees. Flooding in Marana after the Santa Cruz River overflowed its banks in Oct. 1983.

Tucson Citizen file

It was a wonderful, wet monsoon in Arizona, with record rain from Flagstaff to Douglas.

In neighboring New Mexico, September storms flooded towns, filled reservoirs and took a wide swath of the state out of drought status.

The exceptions to the productive monsoon season, which officially began June 15 and ended Monday, were the two valleys in Arizona where most of the state’s people live.

If you’re a resident of central Phoenix or Tucson, chances are it didn’t rain much at your house.

Things started off well in Tucson, with an early onset and a wet, above-average July. The official Tucson rain gauge received 2.6 inches, well above the normal 2.25 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Then the monsoon took a break for much of August. Tucson’s 0.48 of an inch was well below the normal 2.39 inches.

September followed suit with 0.63 of an inch. Normal is 1.29.

The season total of 3.74 inches was well below the normal 6.08 inches.

Tropical moisture in September bypassed Tucson.

“September was interesting across the Southwest. Utah, Northern Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico got soaked,” said Mike Crimmins of the University of Arizona’s climate assessment group, CLIMAS.

Crimmins said the moisture that streamed up from storms on the Pacific and Gulf sides of Mexico largely bypassed Southern and Central Arizona, causing flooding in New Mexico, Colorado and parts of the Hopi and Navajo nations.

Some parts of Tucson received near-average rain, and you didn’t have to venture far from town to find wetter conditions, said Crimmins.

Parts of the Santa Catalina Mountains received up to 20 inches of monsoon rain.

Contact reporter Tom Beal at or 573-4158.