Anyone, that hasn’t lived in Arizona through monsoon season, has no idea of the heavy rains we encounter this time each year. The only thing that is thought of when mentioning Arizona is hot and dry desert. Although we do have extreme heat in the middle to southern parts of the state, we also have snow up north, lots of mountains all over, and yes, heavy rains!
The monsoons add another layer to our weather that is interesting, to say the least. 110 °F with super high humidity and flash flooding is what we look forward to each year around July. These rains come in fast, hard and heavy. Afterwards, in a short period of time when the rain stops, water disappears as fast as it showed up. The sand sucks it into the ground as though a great mouth had opened up and took a big drink of it. The only way you can see that the water had been running like a river down your street, is by the debris that is left behind. Things such as branches from trees, sand, gravel, rocks, cacti and palm leaves can be seen wherever the water ran.
Most people would think, we had a man-made river running, where nothing but sand had been a few minutes before. We have what we call washes here, that are like creeks, only with few rocks (mostly sand and shrubs) and no water to be found for most of the year. When the monsoons hit, these washes become full-blown rivers for a short period of time.
It happens every year that some people get their cars and trucks stuck, (if not taken down the wash) because they don’t realize or believe the water could be that deep and run that hard in such a short span of time. These are usually people who are spending their first year here during the monsoon season, although, there’s always that one idiot, with no common sense, that thinks this time they can make it across. This is in the middle of the desert and yet, you would think we were down by the Atlantic coast for a little while. Even though these rains can do a lot of damage, by the time the monsoon season is upon us, we are ready for some water. Not necessarily that much that quick, but anything to break up the heat and bring the desert back into full bloom. The cacti spring to life and creatures, big and small, breathe a sigh of relief from the hot sands beneath their feet. The underground water tables are once again filled, and we can look towards the thing we all want to see come soon, …. Winter!
We have a lot of people that like to spend their winters here to get away from the harsh winters in their own state. We call these “Snow birds“. Once the heat starts to rise, they pack up and head back to their home states. Quite a few will love it here so much, they will decide to make Arizona home. We have people from all over the map move here and after their first year, the same question always comes up, “What happened to Spring and Fall?” Those of us who know, will smile and simply say, “Other than about three weeks a year, we are either in Summer or Winter”. Do we have Spring and Fall? According to the seasons on the calendar, yes we do, according to temperatures, no, we really don’t feel that to be true. We like to believe so, but when we walk outside, Mother Nature just laughs and laughs.
So if you want to know a little more about Arizona, watch the Weather Channel for the next two months. Who knows, you might get a glimpse of me floating by on your television screen. I’m just kidding, I know better than to cross a flooded wash, and I don’t own a boat. Take care my friends, stay safe wherever you are, and I will try to stay dry in the Grand Canyon State!
If you enjoyed this post, you need to listen or read this one from July of last year Press here