Hot July not a record-breaker

KINGMAN - The pressure shift that starts monsoon season has already taken place, but Kingman has yet to be hit by a significant period of precipitation.

The area has received .30 inches of rain so far this month, bringing total rainfall for the year to 2.78 inches, according to Larry Jensen, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The area got .06 inches of rain in June. Most of this year's rain, about 2.13 inches, fell in February.

Monsoon thunderstorms are caused by two things: the northward movement of the Bermuda High, an upper level subtropical high pressure system, and the thermal lows created by the rising air and surface low pressure from the intense heating of the Mojave Desert.

Those two meteorological changes combine to create a southerly airflow over Arizona, which brings moisture from Mexico that originates from the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. When that moisture reaches the higher terrain of Arizona, it gets lifted and forms thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.

Monsoon season runs from July to September, but that doesn't mean Kingman should expect rain every week of those months.

The thunderstorms occur in a pattern of bursts and breaks. When it rains, the storms can last a few days or more. When the Bermuda high gets stronger, the southerly winds decrease and thunderstorms become less likely.

The National Weather Service says referring to "monsoon" as a noun, as in, "When the monsoons arrived..." is inaccurate. The proper terminology is "monsoon thunderstorms."

The average temperature for this month so far is 100.7 degrees, making it the third warmest July since 2001, Jensen said. The warmest July was in 2005 at 101.9 degrees.

Jensen said weather data for Kingman was available only as far back as 2001.

Temperatures for this week should remain in the high 80s-low 90s, with no rain expected for the next several days.