For a state so hot and dry, it's ironic that one of the worst natural disasters Arizona can experience is a monsoon.

A monsoon rolls over the Arizona desert
Credit: Canva

The massive rainstorms roll through the state once a year, leaving destruction and chaos in their wake. Forming from the heat discrepancies between the pacific and the landmass that is the Americas, these storms roll in every summer to drench the desert.

 What are Microbursts

Some of the most devastating monsoons are the smallest. Microbursts are incredibly powerful storms that will only reach up to 2.5 miles in diameter. Despite their small size, they pack a punch.

Microburst storm
Credit: Canva

One of the most memorable in Cochise County was recorded in July 2021, and hit a residential area, knocking out power, water, and several other necessary utilities or structures. The storm only lasted a few minutes, but the damage was severe.

Arizona's Most Devastating Monsoons in History

The heaviest monsoon does not mean the most destructive monsoon, and this is most apparent in Flagstaff, 1986. The monsoon that year recorded the most rainfall in Arizona history, 20 inches.

Lightning strikes over the Arizona desert
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The most devastating came a few years earlier, in 1970. Known as the "Labor Day Storm of 1970", this was the deadliest storm in state history. The storm dropped 11 inches of rain on the Valley of the Sun, and effectively paralyzed Phoenix, while killing 23.

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What Will This Year Look Like?

It seems like these issues won't follow us into 2024. The National Weather Service has released their predictions for this year, and it seems Arizona's in for another dry spell this summer.

Dry desert
Credit: Canva

It seems as if a few storms will make their way through the state, ensuring this summer isn't as unbearably hot as last year, but the lack of any major storm systems on the radar means a hotter, drier summer.

[National Weather Service]


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