KINGMAN – A half-hour deluge dumped 0.16 inch of rain Monday evening to bring the total for July to 1.59 inches, the best month of the year for rainfall, but well below the 2.89 inches that fell in July 2017.
Still, it was the first measurable rainfall since March, when Kingman received 0.49 inch, reported Nancy Selover, state climatologist at Arizona State University. It brought the total for the year to 2.90 inches.
The year started out well with 0.59 inch in January and continued through March, then went dry in April, May and June, the first month of the monsoon season.
“The monsoon was a little late in starting its activity, and Northern Arizona and the Mogollon Rim have done pretty well, though it has been quite localized with heavy rain in some places and nothing other places,” Selover said.
“Southern Arizona is lagging behind the normal rainfall, though some mountain peaks are doing pretty well. Statewide, though, we are in a pretty significant deficit for the water year from Oct. 1 (2017).”
The Southwest is still mired in severe to extreme drought due to record-high temperatures and record-low precipitation since October 2017, Selover said in a webinar hosted July 25 by the National Integrated Drought Information System.
The lack of rain combined with the heat has intensified the impact on agriculture, ranching, reservoirs and groundwater levels, she noted.
• Precipitation from Oct. 1, 2017, through July 22, 2018, was 25 percent to 50 percent normal for the region, especially lagging in southeastern and northeastern Arizona.
• Temperatures were 2 degrees to 4 degrees above normal for much of the region during that period.
• Fire season peaked in early July. While fire season remains active, the start of the monsoon improved soil moisture and reduced the ability of fuels to ignite and burn.
• The 454,397 acres burned so far is on par with the 10-year average of 445,429 acres. Wildfire burn scars cause flooding, debris and water quality concerns.
• Reservoirs in Arizona are low. Lake Powell is 52 percent full; Lake Mead 37 percent full; and Verde River System 28 percent full. Groundwater levels are dropping across Arizona.
• Enhanced odds for above-normal precipitation in the region, with a 65 percent to 70 percent probability of weak to moderate El Nino.
• Enhanced odds for above-normal temperatures.
• Northwestern Utah shows above-normal wildland fire potential through August. Rest of the region is still in active fire season, but there are no large-scale extreme fire conditions.
Stan Czyzk, meteorologist for National Weather Service in Las Vegas, said the monsoon season has been quite active in Mohave County with some areas receiving substantial rainfall, including the Hualapai Mountains (5.55 inches), Willow Mountain (2.59 inches), Santa Claus (2.80 inches) and Valle Vista (1.69 inches).
“Many times September offers noteworthy moisture from leftover hurricanes or tropical storms,” Czyzk said. “In the very short term, it looks like the weekend will be noticeably drier.”