Rim Country has seen its sixth wettest monsoon since 1981.
A normal monsoon in Payson delivers 5.45 inches of rain. This
year, the area has received an average 8.88 inches.
That’s a lot of extra water.
Tonto Village columnist Janet Snyder reported that Dara Sutton, a resident of Bear Flat, has kept weather records for many years and agrees that August has been a record month.
According to her records, it rained 6.66 inches in August. Normally, it rains about 3.72 inches in August.
As for total rainfall (or precipitation), Sutton reports 23.38 inches. Normal precipitation is 18.07 to this point in the year.
The good folks at weather.astro50.com take rainfall measurements at Granite Dells as well as a few other places around the community.
So far this year, Payson has seen 4.23 inches just in August. For the year, they report the area has received 14.01 inches.
So, really, what are the monsoons?
The National Weather Service says the word monsoon actually has its roots in the Arabic word, mausim, which means season.
This concept of the seasonal shift with accompanying rains, came from the observations of seafaring traders that sailed the waters off of the Arabian and Indian coasts. When the seasons shifted in the summer, they noticed the dry northeast winds of winter turned to the southwest. With that shift came buckets of rain.
Climatologists now know that large-scale wind shifts occur around the globe from deserts to tropical areas and on all continents.
So what brings the rain?
Most of the year, winds blow from land to sea. As the temperature rises during the summer, the air pressure begins to fall causing low pressure.
Out on the ocean, the water is also heating up, but the air does the opposite than inland — creating higher pressure from the warm, wet air.
This pressure difference ultimately draws the moist air from the ocean inland, causing thunderstorms. This creates a feedback loop as the humidity levels rise over the land, causing more thunderstorms, which further increase the humidity, which generates more storms.
This cycle of storms continues until the temperatures begin dropping inland as ocean waters reach their peak during the fall.
The pressure diminishes, which reduces the onshore flow of moisture and the monsoons come to an end.