PHOENIX (Arizona's Weather Authority) -- Monsoon 2021 has been a wet season so far, and this rain has not only helped keep temperatures cooler than average but it's also been beneficial in easing our short-term drought.

According to Aug. 13 data provided by the National Weather Service of Phoenix, Phoenix Sky Harbor has so far picked up about 2 inches of rain since June 15. That is less than a half-inch below the average rainfall total for the entire monsoon. Flagstaff received about 8 inches, which is about half an inch more than what's typical for the whole season. Meanwhile, Tucson has picked up nearly 9 inches, which was more than 3 inches above average for the entire season. Valleywide, from Buckeye to Queen Creek, the average rainfall total so far is more than 3.5 inches.

According to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, at the start of our monsoon just three months ago, 87% of Arizona was under the worst or second-worst category of drought, classified as "exceptional" or "extreme." Today, that number is down to just 36%. According to NWS Phoenix Meteorologist Jaret Rogers, it's rare to see that much improvement during the summer, as most of our water supply usually comes during the winter months.

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U.S. Drought Monitor man for Arizona (Aug. 10, 2021)

For the remainder of August -- it looks like at least the next week or so -- it's going to be pretty active. We'll have several more days, I'd say, with at least chances for rainfall across the Phoenix area and across the whole state. It does look like it could dry out some into the later part of August. That doesn't mean that it's going to be super quiet that whole time, but it may be not quite as active as we've seen here in the middle part of August," Rogers said. "But there is still a signal for cooler-than-normal temperatures. So, we're not, at least right now, seeing the signs that it's going to be exceptionally hot into the later part of August."

According to data from NWS Phoenix, since the start of the monsoon, we've had nine days with highs below 100 degrees. The last time we did that was back in 2006. If we dodge the 100s again today, it would be the 10th day, and the last time we hit that mark was back in 1992. So far this monsoon, we've had 31 out of 59 days with temperatures at or below normal, which is more than half the season. This all comes on the heels of 2020, which was dubbed our hottest summer ever, with 53 days of highs at 110 or greater.

Despite all the beneficial rain, flash flooding has been a big problem. Rogers said as of Thursday afternoon, the NWS office in Phoenix had issued 152 flash flood warnings this season. That's a lot. The burn scars left behind by our wildfire season are to blame. A Flash Flood Watch is currently in effect for a good portion of Arizona, including metro Phoenix, which means we could see more of that this weekend.

"As we go to September and the rest of the monsoon, it does look like it could be drier than what we normally see in September. It may be a bit warmer, as well," Rogers said. "But one thing I would say is that in the month of September is when we tend to get more decaying tropical systems from the eastern Pacific, like down off the coast of Mexico. All it really takes is just one of those events to really make a month, as far as precipitation goes. We can't rule that out as happening at any point in September."


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3TV/CBS 5 Meteorologist

Meteorologist Kim Quintero is part of the Arizona Weather Authority team. Read more about Kim.

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