Is it over?

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So I'm driving in to work, chatting with Tony Haffer from the National Weather Service in Phoenix about whether they're going to "call" the monsoon over. We've had this conversation about twenty times, it seems, over the years and it's always the same. "You guys going to call the monsoon today?" I asked.

"Nah, probably not," Tony replied.

"But you and I know it's over," I said.

"Yeah, but you know," he answered. "There's the whole dewpoint thing and everyone wants us to follow that."

"Even though the flow pattern has changed," I added, referring to the fact that we're now under the influence of the westerly winds in the upper atmosphere, a definite end to the monsoon's southerly flow pattern. After a few minutes of conversation, Tony came up with an idea.

"Whaddaya say we get all the weather people together next year and agree to stop calling the monsoon "the monsoon?" Tony suggested.

"I'd vote for that," I replied, laughing along with him. "Let's just call it what it is...."

"The summer thunderstorm season," he said, finishing my thought.

"I think it's a monster we're never going to get rid of," I added. "Don't you think the term should be used in more of a supportive role for our summer thunderstorms, rather than the end-all, end-all."

"Agree!" Tony confirmed with glee.

"Let's put it on the ballot," I added. "Everything else is."

"Yeah, I like that," he said. "Proposition 600: Banning the use of the term "monsoon" in Arizona."

"There's grassroots support," I said.

"I'll have to look into that," Tony said laughing.


Monsoon 2006 is coming to an end. And Tony and I know that there's absolutely no chance there won't be a Monsoon 2007. But perhaps a few more folks won't mind when we call it, on occasion, our summer thunderstorm season.