I seem to have brought the summer monsoon rains with me to New Mexico. Monsoon season, the Southwest’s fifth season, arrives in early July and lasts into the first week of September. It is a highly anticipated time of year that brings up to half the region’s annual rainfall. It also brings extreme weather events, such as intense rain, hail, high winds, flash floods, copious lightning, and dust devils.
With all the wildfires in the region this year the rain is both a blessing and added challenge: It is a blessing because it can douse fire danger and a challenge because burned areas are more prone to flash floods, and debris from fires can pollute local water supplies.
In the Santa Fe/Albuquerque region the third driest spring on record lead to an unusually hot and dry June. Twice the amount of average monsoon rainfall will be needed to bring the area out of present drought conditions.
For a thorough explanation of the causes and effects of the summer monsoon in the Southwest check out the Southwest Climate Change Network’s Understanding the Southwestern Monsoon article.
For now I’m just happy to enjoy a refreshing afternoon shower and a high of around 80 degrees in Santa Fe.