Kingman could experience an active monsoon season

Kingman residents could see the start of the annual monsoon season about a week earlier than normal next month, said Randy Cerveny, associate professor of geography at Arizona State University.

Typically, the monsoon rains begin in the Tucson area at the start of July.

They move northward through the state, reaching Phoenix about July 7, and Kingman around July 13-14.

"The average start date for Phoenix is July 7 and I believe Kingman will get it about the same time," Cerveny said.

"It hits the rim country and once it does, you have showers (in Kingman.)"

Hotter than normal temperatures in Arizona being experienced in early June tend to fuel the coming monsoon, Cerveny said.

Hot air rising over the Mojave Desert sucks up moisture from Mexico, and the hotter June is the more active the monsoon should be in July, he said.

Northwest Arizona has been very dry so far this year.

Statistics supplied by the Arizona State University Office of Climatology indicate Kingman received .5 inches of rainfall in March when a typical March experiences 1.39 inches.

Kingman received .22 inches in April, all falling April 18.

April rainfall in Kingman averages about .46 inches.

There was no precipitation at all in May, when the average amount for Kingman is .35 inches.

"The seasonal forecast for northwest Arizona from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration calls for temperatures above normal and precipitation below normal in June," National Weather Service meteorologist Charlie Schlott said.

"For July, August and September the forecast is temperatures above normal and precipitation slightly above normal," he said.

A high-pressure ridge has been sitting over the desert southwest for about two months, Schlott said.

But slightly cooler daytime highs should reach Kingman on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as a trough of low pressure moves through the region, he said.

The statistics from the University of Arizona Office of Climatology also reflect that the daytime high temperature in Kingman topped 90 degrees daily between May 20 and May 31, except for 88 on May 25-26.

It reached 100 degrees on May 22, 28 and 29.

A fairly strong La Nina remains in the eastern Pacific Ocean and will continue to influence Arizona1s weather through the summer months, Schlott said.

La Nina is a condition in which easterly trade winds in the central and eastern Pacific strengthen.

Cold-water upwelling intensifies off Ecuador and Peru and ocean surface temperatures fall by as much as seven degrees.

The high-pressure ridge over the Southwest has forced thunderstorm activity further eastward, resulting in heavy rains and flooding in some areas of Texas in recent weeks, Cerveny said.

If the ridge shifts further north over Utah or Idaho, it would allow those thunderstorms below it to get into Arizona, he said.

"Colder sea temperatures over the eastern Pacific from La Nina cause wind patterns that are such that it helps force moisture up from Mexico, though there is not a direct relationship," Cerveny said.

"It1s still too early to see indications but satellite photos show blossoming storms in central Mexico, so monsoon predictors should watch how it creeps northward," he said.

Schlott said there also are some thunderstorms in eastern Mexico, but nothing is headed northward at present so no precipitation is expected in northwest Arizona for at least the next week.