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2020 Monsoon Summary

Narrative & Images by: Aaron Burrows
September 1st, 2020

This year’s Monsoon season has continued to be a disappointment across Yavapai County and much of the State of Arizona. Even as dry as what July 2020 was, August of this year has turned out to be even drier for many of the fifty-five monitored weather sites across Yavapai County.

There are two official National Weather Service rain gauges within the City of Prescott. Having only recorded a total of 2.08 inches of rain this July/August, the Sundog Ranch Road rain gauge saw the driest two-month period of July/August since 1978 and the third driest over the past 75 years. Only July/August in the years of 1944 and 1978 were drier. The 2.08 inches of rain received at this site through August 31st is only about 36% of the 30-year average of 5.80 inches for the two-month period of July/August.

At the same time, the second official rain gauge in Prescott, which is located at Prescott Love Field (Prescott Airport) north of town saw the driest July/August two-month period since 2008 and the third driest in the past 30 years with only 1.29 inches being recorded. This is only about 27% of the 30-year average of 4.73 inches for the two-month period of July/August at Prescott Love Field.

As of August 31st, we are 77 days into the 2020 North American Monsoon Season. Of those 77 days, measurable rainfall was recorded at the Sundog Ranch Road rain gauge on a total of only 14 days, while only 8 days saw measurable rainfall at Prescott Love Field.

Of the fifty-five monitored weather stations across Yavapai County, six sites have recorded less than 1 inch of total rainfall so far this Monsoon season while seventeen sites have recorded three or more inches.

The five weather stations that have recorded the most rain this Monsoon season through August 31st are:

  1. Upper Goldwater Lake (South of Prescott): 5.44 inches
  2. Mingus Mountain (Between Prescott Valley and the Verde Valley): 5.20 inches
  3. Community of Walker (South of Prescott): 5.13 inches
  4. Coyote Springs Neighborhood (Northeast of Prescott Valley): 4.10 inches
  5. Thumb Butte Tank (Southeast of Thumb Butte in Prescott): 3.98 inches

The five highest rainfall totals for the month of August 2020 were:

  1. Upper Goldwater Lake (South of Prescott): 4.18 inches
  2. Community of Walker (South of Prescott): 3.35 inches
  3. Mingus Mountain (Between Prescott Valley and the Verde Valley): 3.03 inches
  4. Community of Potato Patch (South of Prescott): 2.75 inches
  5. Community of Crown King (Southern Yavapai County): 2.51 inches

Attached are two maps and a chart showing rainfall totals across Yavapai County and the Prescott metropolitan area between June 15-August 31, 2020.

We are entering our final 30 days of the 2020 North American Monsoon season. Unfortunately, weather forecasts indicate a return of above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation across the area over the next 14 days. Without substantial rainfall in the month of September, we are on track to see one of the hottest and driest Monsoon seasons in recorded history.

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