If you were hoping the monsoon would make up for the dry start to the year in Phoenix, keep hoping.
The 2017 Arizona monsoon season isn’t off to a rousing start, rain-wise, but it has helped turn down the heat a bit.
Phoenix recorded 0.89 of an inch of rain at Sky Harbor Airport, the official reporting station for the city, in July. When you factor in a bone-dry second half of June (Arizona monsoon season starts on the June 15), the city has some catching up to do to even come out average.
According to National Weather Service numbers, Phoenix is 0.18 inch below average through this point in the season (which runs through Sept. 30). With just 3.3 inches of rain so far this year, Phoenix is 0.98 inch behind in that average as well.
Is that likely to improve?
The Climate Prediction Center outlook calls for a greater probability of above-normal rainfall through October. Just a few storms targeting the airport between now and Sept. 30 would turn things around.
While Phoenix has been relatively dry this season, other parts of the state have received abundant rain.
Tucson fared better
Tucson recorded its wettest July on record. The city had 6.8 inches of rain during July, which is 3.84 inches above normal. Even more astounding is that the July total puts Tucson above average for the entire season. Normal for the season is 6.08 inches.
Most of that rain came in a few intense storms.
The city got more rain in a one-hour period on July 15 than Phoenix got all month, according to the Tucson National Weather Service office. Between 10 and 11 a.m. July 15, Tucson’s airport recorded 1.36 inches of rain. The city also got 2.14 inches on July 28 and 29.
University of Arizona climatologist Mike Crimmins said several factors account for the difference between Phoenix and Tucson this summer, including location and luck.
Tucson normally receives more rain than Phoenix in large part because that city is closer to mountains where storms tend to form. So far this season much of the storm activity closest to Phoenix just hasn’t made it to the airport’s rain gauges.
Crimmins said the potential for rain has been present in Phoenix, but all of the elements necessary for a good soaking haven’t come together very often this summer.
“There was a bit of good activity around the fringes of the city and (precipitation) amounts look good there, but the airport missed much of that activity,” he said. “The airport totals aren’t really all that bad either, but not quite as gangbusters as Tucson has been.”
Rain up north, too
Northern Arizona also has had an active monsoon season.
Flagstaff was well above normal for July with 4.6 inches of rain. Normal for the monsoon through July there is 2.82 inches.
Prescott received 4.52 inches in July (about 2 inches above normal) while Payson saw 6.94 (about 4 inches over average), according to the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.
On the other side of that coin, Yuma has received no measurable rain since the start of the Arizona monsoon season. But the average total for that city by this point is just 0.24 inch.
July 2017 by the numbers
After the blazing-hot start to the summer in June, Phoenix temperatures have moderated.
July tied for 19th-warmest for the month based on average temperature. Average temperature is determined by taking the average high and low and dividing by two.
The average temperature was 95 degrees. That was 0.2 degree above normal and 3.3 degrees below the record set in 2009.
Average high temperature was 106.2 degrees, 0.1 degree above normal and more than 3 degrees short of the record of 109.8 set in 1989.
The average low was 83.8 degrees, 0.3 degree above normal and 3.3 degrees below the record of 87.1 set in 2009.
Three daily temperature records were set in July. The high of 118 degrees on July 7 topped the mark for that date while the low on that date of 91 degrees tied the record for warmest minimum. The low of 95 on July 8 set a record for warmest minimum for the date.
Slow motion video of rain droplets in Chandler, Arizona on Aug. 1, 2017.
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A woman who drove past a “road closed” sign on Citrus Road, just south of Interstate 10 in Goodyear, gets stuck in the mud and has to abandon her car after heavy rains soaked the Valley on July 24, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
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Mesa Fire and Medical crews rescued a stranded motorist in Apache Junction on July 24, 2017. Mesa Fire and Medical Department
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Floodwaters race past the Apache Junction Police Department. Robert E. Wheeler Jr./Special for azcentral.com
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People walk across the crosswalk at the start of a monsoon storm in downtown phoenix on July 29, 2017.
Mike Meister/The Republic
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Rain falls in Phoenix on July 24, 2017. Nick Oza/azcentral.com
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Flooding in Apache Junction on S. Ocotillo Road. Robert Geist/azcentral.com
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Water running through the San Tan Heights subdivision off Hunt Highway in San Tan Valley on July 24, 2017. Robert Anglen/azcentral.com
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Flooding in a wash in the San Tan Heights subdivision in San Tan Valley on July 24, 2017. Robert Anglen/azcentral.com
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Mesa firefighters conduct a water rescue on Monday, July 24, 2017. (Mesa Fire and Medical Department)
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Water rushes along 64th Street just north of University Drive in east Mesa on Monday, July 24, 2017. (Wendy Killeen/The Republic)
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Heavy rains create a large pool of water in Mesa’s Ensenada Park on July 24, 2017. Wendy Killeen/azcentral.com
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Rainfall soaks 64th Street in Mesa on July 24, 2017. Wendy Killeen/azcentral.com
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A dust storm moves toward the Valley on July 23, 2017.
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Rain near Seventh Street and Glendale Avenue in Phoenix on July 21, 2017. Lindsey Collom/azcentral.com
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Lightning is flashing and rain is soaking east Mesa near Power and Brown roads Thursday night, July 20, 2017. Wendy Killeen/azcentral.com
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A peach-faced lovebird rides out a monsoon windstorm in a mesquite tree in Phoenix on July 14, 2017. Rob Schumacher/azcentral.com
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Images from the storm on July 14, 2017.
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An approaching monsoon storm near Surprise and Waddell kicks up a lot of dust on July 14, 2017. April Morganroth/azcentral.com
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Azcentral.com photographer Rob Schumacher shot this beautiful time-lapse video of monsoon storm thunderhead building over Carefree.
Rob Schumacher/The Republic
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Azcentral.com photographer David Kadlubowski shot this beautiful time-lapse video of a monsoon storm in Phoenix.
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A tree that fell over during a storm on July 10, 2017, is disposed of in Gold Canyon. Loren Townsley/azcentral.com
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A dust storm moves across the East Valley during a monsoon storm July 10, 2017.
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A microburst drops some rain near Waddell on July 10, 2017.
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Meteorologists’ video of storm clouds as they form and evaporate and reform and evaporate over Mount Lemmon on Aug. 17, 2006. Video shot by Joseph Zehnder; Weldon B. Johnson/azcentral.com
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Newspaper stands are knocked over as a thunderstorm makes it’s way through Phoenix.
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Wind and rain start to pick up in Northwest Valley.
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Last VideoNext Video
Light rain in Chandler
Driver gets stuck on flooded street
Mesa Fire and Medical rescue in Apache Junction
Apache Junction flooding
Monsoon weather in downtown phoenix
Rain in Phoenix
Flooded street in Apache Junction
San Tan Heights flooding
Wash floods in San Tan Valley
Water rescue Mesa
Rain and rushing water in east Mesa
Ensenada Park in east Mesa
Rain soaks Mesa neighborhood
Dust storm moves toward the Phoenix area
Monsoon storm in Phoenix
Pouring rain at Power and Brown roads in east Mesa July 20, 2017
Riding out a monsoon windstorm in Phoenix
Images from Friday’s Phoenix-area storm
Monsoon storm approaches in far West Valley
Time-lapse of monsoon storm thunderhead building over Carefree
Time-lapse view of monsoon storm from Broadway curve in Phoenix
Storm downs tree in Gold Canyon
Watch a dust storm move across the East Valley
Monsoon rains hit far West Valley
Clouds form over Mount Lemmon
Downtown Phoenix, July 15, 2017
Surprise/Waddell monsoon storm
No timeline for Burton Barr Library reopening after flooding
Why is Phoenix’s official temperature taken at the airport?
Watch rescue of 2 people stranded in Arizona storm
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