SW Monsoon - Station Case Studies
Cumulative precipitation maps help illustrate where monsoon precipitation fell, and the monthly maps on p.3 narrow down when it fell, but a closer look at individual stations reveals the variety of ways the monsoon can progress. The cumulative plot for Tucson (KTUS: Fig. 7a) shows the slightly-behind-normal start, the strong series of storms from mid-July to early August, and the complete shutdown of monsoon activity after mid-August. Albuquerque, on the other hand, had an early event but then lagged behind the seasonal total for most of the monsoon before a run of storms pushed the city just over its seasonal average at the end of September (KABQ: Fig. 7b). El Paso looks to be the best of both worlds, with an early start, a strong set of storms in the middle, and a season-ending event that pushed the total even further past the seasonal average (KELP: Fig. 7c). A closer look at the daily rainfall totals reveals a vast majority of El Paso’s monsoon rainfall fell during a small number of intense rainfall events. Each of the three cities had similar overall results – above-average monsoon totals – but each followed a different pattern to reach those totals.
CLIMAS developed an experimental product using the Pima County ALERT network data that further reveals the range of precipitation totals that occur during monsoon events. Figure 8 plots the daily precipitation totals from the KTUS NWS station used for Figure 7a, along with the range of precipitation totals recorded at the various network stations around Pima county.