Is our monsoon changing?

Posted: Updated:
Some intense storms have flooded freeways in the Valley. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Some intense storms have flooded freeways in the Valley. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
This photo was taken on July 18, 2016. (Source: Jerry Ferguson) This photo was taken on July 18, 2016. (Source: Jerry Ferguson)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Is our monsoon season changing? A new study from the University of Arizona researchers seems to indicate that it is. And that’s not good news for Valley residents. 

Monsoon season, which runs from June 15 through September 30 in Arizona, brings some of our biggest weather threats. Flash flooding, strong winds including microbursts and dust storms are pretty common during this season. 

[Special section: Arizona monsoon 2017]

In this recent study, researchers found that while we aren’t having MORE storms, the storms we are having are more intense. That means stronger winds and heavier rain, which equates to more loss of property and life. The researchers compared weather data from 1950-1970 to data between 1991-2010.  They found that the regions seeing more intense storms include Kingman, Yuma, Casa Grande and the Phoenix Metro area.

[SLIDESHOW: Best of Arizona's 2017 monsoon]

MOBILE/APP USERS: Click here to see the image of monsoon storms in the Valley

[SPECIAL SECTION: Weather blog]

Researchers believe this is the result of climate change and is consistent with what they expect throughout the world due to climate change. While rainfall amounts during monsoon season didn’t change much over the last 60 years, there were fewer, but more intense storms producing those totals. And the more intense storms that produced that heavy rain also brought stronger winds, including more frequent microbursts.

[RELATED: Phoenix Rainfall Index looks at the big rain picture]

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see the pic of a microburst over Phoenix

This is one of the first studies to look at long-term changes in the monsoon. This same research team in the University of Arizona’s Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences department plans to next look at how the North American monsoon may be changing in Mexico. 

[RELATED: The magnificent microburst]

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Weather BlogMore>>

  • Fall colors about to arrive in Arizona

    Fall colors about to arrive in Arizona

    Monday, September 25 2017 6:34 AM EDT2017-09-25 10:34:53 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    We may have to wait a little longer for fall to arrive in Arizona, but when it does, it's AMAZING. And that includes the fall colors. Yes, even in Arizona we get those reds, golds and yellows. It just takes a little bit of a road trip from the Valley to find them. 

    More >

    We may have to wait a little longer for fall to arrive in Arizona, but when it does, it's AMAZING. And that includes the fall colors. Yes, even in Arizona we get those reds, golds and yellows. It just takes a little bit of a road trip from the Valley to find them. 

    More >
  • This Arizona spot sees more freezing nights than Flagstaff

    This Arizona spot sees more freezing nights than Flagstaff

    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:38 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:38:37 GMT

    There is one place in particular that sees quite a few nights with overnight lows below freezing, 241 to be exact!  Bellemont, just outside of Flagstaff, sees more freezing nights than cities in Alaska and Minnesota. 

    More >

    There is one place in particular that sees quite a few nights with overnight lows below freezing, 241 to be exact!  Bellemont, just outside of Flagstaff, sees more freezing nights than cities in Alaska and Minnesota. 

    More >
  • The state of the climate in 2016

    The state of the climate in 2016

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 11:52 PM EDT2017-09-20 03:52:56 GMT
    An undated photo of arctic ice. (Source: NASA)An undated photo of arctic ice. (Source: NASA)

    The latest report on the climate from the American Meteorological Society focuses on 2016.

    More >

    The latest report on the climate from the American Meteorological Society focuses on 2016.

    More >