We certainly learned a lot more about weather during our summer in the blast furnace that is the valley of the sun, the greater Phoenix Arizona area, than we really wanted to learn.
Monsoons - we thought the monsoon season was in the tropics but the Phoenix area has what they call the monsoon season. The hurricanes in the Caribbean get more press coverage but the same weather pattern that causes those hurricanes also kick up fronts off of the western side of Mexico. Unlike Hurricane Patricia which went northeast into Mexico most of the storms head northwest out to sea. The moisture from those fronts is drawn up into Arizona for the monsoon season from June 15 to September 30. Mid-July to mid-August is the peak. Arizona gets about half its annual rainfall during this period.
Monsoons kick off some interesting weather. We had 60mph winds blowing rain and dust at us and 100mph winds reported. During monsoons there can be supercells and microbursts which we had heard about. But we learned two more weather items; gustnados and cold-air funnels. There were some amazing photos during this monsoon season.
Gustnado - a specific type of short-lived, low-level rotating cloud that can form in a severe thunderstorm, or a monsoon. Here is one from the news cast.
Cold-Air Tornado - cold-air funnel clouds are usually short-lived and generally much weaker than the vortices produced by supercells. Although cold-air funnels rarely make ground contact, they make touch down briefly and become weak tornadoes or waterspouts. Here is a rare cold-air tornado taken from the news broadcast that occurred in Goodyear Arizona where we stayed all summer. We were in Flagstaff at the time.
We saw some great sunsets aided by the monsoon activity.
A valley photographer developed a 9 minute movie on this monsoon season. Here is a link to that story and hopefully the news story they showed on Fox 10 Phoenix. For Marvel Cinematic Universe fans some of his earlier storm footage was featured in 'Thor'.
At first we were a little dubious about the monsoon season since whenever they talk about a lot of rain it is usually 1 inch or less. But it only took one time driving in the high winds, and what rain they get is usually in a very short time, to truly understand what the monsoon season was all about.
Now that summer has passed we can say that we like being in Arizona again. Seems like we went from triple digits to our regular winter weather real fast. Last night the temperature was 55 while watching the weather at 9:20p. During the summer one time we saw 107, yes, still triple digits at that time of the day. Not just that day but triple digits a number of days hanging around that late. We are so looking forward to a nice winter here.
Till next time,
Bob and Jo