Monsoon

What you need to know about monsoon 2015

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Although there is a chance of storms in the forecast this week, the official summer storm season -- the monsoon -- doesn't begin for another two weeks.

The first official day of the monsoon is June 15. The season runs through the summer, ending on Sept. 30. But we all know that Mother Nature pays no attention to the calendar.

Monsoon means "season" in Arabic, and it signals a seasonal shift in winds and our overall weather pattern.

As high pressure sets up to our east, and low pressure develops to our southwest, moisture is drawn up into Arizona from both the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico. That moisture combines with the intense summer heat and we get thunderstorms.

The monsoon brings everything from dust storms and dry lightning to heavy rain and flash flooding. Occasionally, we even get a tornado or two here in Arizona.

Last year's monsoon was one for the record books.

[READ: City of Phoenix fast tracks flood improvements following 2014 monsoon]

[READ: Monsoon 2014 ends wetter than normal for the Valley]

In fact, Jaime Cerreta found herself right in the middle of one of the worst dust storms.

[PHOTOS and VIDEO: 3TV reporter Jaime Cerreta caught in dust storm]

Thanks to El Niño and a wet May, the forecast for this year's monsoon season is more complex than ever.

[READ: Arizona monsoon expected to be active thanks to ElNiño]

[READ: Phoenix records 2nd wettest May on record]

We'll run down what you can expect in our annual special "Monsoon Watch 360." If you missed it Tuesday night, all of the video is at the top of this story. The special will re-air on 3TV Saturday, June 6, at 5:30 p.m.

[READ: Consider flood insurance before monsoon storms hit]

QUIZ: Test your monsoon knowledge

FREE EVENT: "MonCon"Storm Chasers & Weather Geeks Unite: MonsoonCon Returns to Gangplank Chandler June 13, 2015

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