Southern Arizona's erratic monsoon

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Flash flooding, stormy skies, and strong winds.  Nearly one month into the monsoon and we've had a taste of it all, and weather experts say we're in for more twists and turns.

The 2011 monsoon officially began June 15.  Our first taste of rain didn't roll in until June 30, which accounted for lower than average rainfall for the month.

But once July hit, a steady stream of storms.  So far we've already had 1.51 inches. The July average is 2.07.

"As far as July goes, we've gotten more rain than we normally would see by this time in July," said Ken Drozd of the National Weather Service.

Across Pima County, the lowest amount of rainfall since June 15 is .12 inches, just southeast of Tucson International at the Franco Wash.

Mt. Lemmon holds the record high so far with 5.08 inches of rain.

The CDO wash just south of Pinal county is in second with 3.43 inches.

"Some soaking rains, we've had instances where we've had flash flooding," said Drozd.

But Drozd says there's a lot of catching up to do.

"We have a ways to catch up from the lack of rainfall that we experienced from the winter and spring seasons," said Drozd.

An irregular pattern this year, more rain from the west, rather than the east, has prevented parts of eastern Arizona from getting a substantial amount of rain.

"We've had some really impressive flows of moisture up the gulf of California.  So they come up through the gulf of California, come up through Yuma and stream up out of low deserts," said Drozd.

Luckily experts say we've still got two and a half months in the season.

"It's going to be filled with a lot of interesting surprises, dry spells, wet spells," said Drozd.

All we can do is hope that come end of September, every area will have had a good dose of rain.

National Weather Service experts say across southern Arizona, the area with the most rainfall so far is near the international border.  That's because monsoon moisture typically comes from the south.