Aug 26, 2022 - News

Arizona's above-average monsoon season a boon for the water supply

⚡️ Lightning strikes in Arizona, by year
Note: Prior years encompass June 15-Sept. 30. This year is June 15-Aug. 10. Data: NWS, Vaisala; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Arizona is seeing an above-average number of thunderstorms so far this monsoon season — welcome news to residents still scarred by the 2019 and 2020 "non-soons."

Why it matters: An increase in lightning strikes indicates an increase in precipitation, which Arizona relies on during its summer monsoon to refill reservoirs and shore up our water supply.

State of play: The National Weather Service uses the Vaisala National Lightning Detection Network to track cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in Arizona.

  • As of Aug. 10, 307,873 lightning strikes touched down across the state.
  • That's compared with 203,796 strikes in the 2019 season and just 81,207 in 2020.

What's next: NWS Phoenix meteorologist Tom Frieders tells us to expect a short-term decrease in thunderstorm activity through the middle of next week.

  • Things should ramp back up after that, though, and we'll continue to see above-average storm chances through the end of September.
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