For a detailed Tucson Arizona forecast - Click Here...
The weather in Tucson is the result of a semi-arid to more desert-dry micro-climate. Other areas right near-by, such as Mount Lemmon, have a different semi-desert biome. They'll have an environmental characteristic unique to the location. In particular, related to elevation.
But Tucson Arizona weather patterns are typical of the Sonoran Desert. It just doesn't rain that much! So usually your plans will not rain out!
The rain patterns are that of the desert. There's a basic pattern to the weather and rain patterns that do occur.
The Monsoon season is the time when Tucson Arizona weather is dramatic! There are amazing thunderstorms. Rain can come down in a deluge! Personally I love this time of year! I love watching the thunderstorms from our decks. The photo above was taken right from our back deck!
The lightning provides an amazing light show. The storm itself can be very eye-popping. For more details on this Tucson Arizona weather feature: read more here>
With Tucson Arizona weather - May into the beginning of June is about the driest time of year. Often little to no rain.
There is a typical winter "rainy" season. Winter storms come in from the Pacific. They can reach Arizona and bring rain. In the highest elevations, like Mount Lemmon, snow will fall.
On occasion the snow can even reach the desert floor. Typically January, February & March get the most storms.
Keep in mind - all this precipitation only totals just over 19 inches per yearly average!
So... safe to say - not much worry about spoiling any outdoor plans. But enough to generally keep desert plants happy.
This precipitation info for Arizona weather is gathered by the National Oceanic
& Atmospheric Administration. More: Click Here>
When the time is right, you can see absolutely gorgeous sunrises and sunsets here in Tucson. I believe we have the best sunsets in the world - although I haven't seen all of them! But they must rival the top... for sure!
Add variable storm clouds amidst the sunset - that adds another glowing, thrilling atmosphere to it...
There is a boating or naval saying:
Red sky at morning - Sailor take warning. Red sky at night - Sailors' delight!
It's said to predict oncoming rain storms! Does that apply here in the AZ desert? Not necessarily so!
When we see these gorgeous shades of red in the morning sunrise - it's not a predictor of the Tucson Arizona weather!
It's the clear, clean, fresh air that causes these great photo-ops. Skeptical about that? Check out the scientific explanation - read more here>
Be confident when you see these wonderful views... Don't worry about the weather interrupting your plans! Instead, go ahead and check the weather report...
Even more particulars and details for you regarding the Tucson Arizona weather forecast: see it here>
Say the word "Monsoon" - and people usually think of Southeast Asia... torrential rains for days and days at a time. Jungles, flooding, mosquitoes attacking - no sun to be seen, rivers overflowing!
Well... Arizona actually has a Monsoon season!
The word in climateese refers to a shift in the wind patterns. Here in Arizona it means the primary pattern of prevailing winds no longer comes from the West/ Northwestern Pacific coast. But now the prevailing winds switch to more Southerly flows. They pick up a lot of tropical moisture. Combine that with summer heat. That makes for some fantastic, sky-opening thunderstorms!
This traditionally begins around mid June. And generally goes until the end of September. But officially, technically... scientifically - there must be a minimum dew point of 55 degrees. Then the Monsoon thunderstorm capability has begun. The Tucson Arizona weather has begun the change that we're anticipating!
If you're so meteorologically involved, you can read the details when you click here.
How often will there be a Monsoon Thunderstorm? No way to be sure!
One way of anticipation is to look for high pressure circling the 4 Corner's area when you watch the Tucson Arizona weather on TV. (That's where 4 state borders join together: AZ, UT, CO & NM). That's when the prevailing winds will pull the tropical moisture up where it needs to be. Then it may happen if other conditions are right!
Watch the clouds build as the air heats up during the day. Usually storms begin toward late afternoon. Sometimes the air really becomes saturated. The storms can then become intermittent all day and evening long.
Be aware of the problems you could encounter in monsoon weather. For instance, extraordinary wind gusts can accompany a storm's beginning. Flash floods are a danger. Sometimes a dust storm can precede the storm.
Take a look at this Tucson Arizona weather footage captured on film - quite amazing!
During Monsoon Thunderstorms the lightning strikes come at a fast and furious pace. The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) talks about 3 basic types of lighting. During these storms you'll witness all 3.
The light show types are strikes that go through the clouds across the sky! Spread out like wiring circuitry throughout above you. Then there's the sheet type lightning within the cloud that illuminates the whole cloud at once. These are the majority of lightning strikes... 5 to 10 times more than those that hit the ground according to the NSSL.
Maybe you've heard the one about - don't stand under a tree in a lightning storm.
The NSSL calls a cloud to ground strike a "CG" - and says we don't see it until the charge contacts the ground. It generates a return current to the cloud that makes it visible. It flickers as the charge gets to the cloud in "strokes."
Unbelievably - that current seen is only a few inches wide! Its brightness makes it look larger, and visible for miles. The charge from the cloud attracts the closest ground charge. Normally something tallest in the area. Like a tall tree, a tall building, a telephone pole, etc.
In the Tucson Desert, it might be a Saguaro cactus. One afternoon, during a Monsoon thunderstorm, I saw a strike hit the Saguaro in my front yard. That was about 30 yards from my front door! Kinda scary!
The practical advice if a Monsoon storm comes in...
Be Aware! Are they predicting possible Monsoon thunderstorms? Maybe this is a day to plan an indoor activity. At least don't plan to be out in the wilderness! Tucson Arizona weather is not something to disregard - just use your knowledge of it intelligently.
The National Lightning Safety Institute has good advice for you when caught out in an unexpected storm. It's good to know precautions ahead of time. Read about it here>
Whatever the Tucson Arizona weather forecast tells you, it will be a great day to plan your activities. You just cannot go wrong with a trip to Tucson,
Or Sedona [read about that here>],
Or Tombstone - the town too tough to die! [read about that here>],
Or a Ghost Town, or to some other surrounding area. The weather will be quite cooperative when you have a knowledge of it...
You'll notice that when Monsoon storms are in the area, you may seem to "smell" rain before it begins. That's actually the scent of the creosote bush. It gives off this aroma when it's wet. People begin to associate it with the smell of rain.
Since Monsoon thunderstorms tend to be recurrent throughout the afternoon - you'll see the sun peeking through as well. The ideal circumstances for a rainbow! Well, not just "A" rainbow - but often a double rainbow as well. A beautiful sight! Have your camera ready!
The clouds themselves, various shades of gray, dark blue, black - against the vibrant blue sky peeking through! Shards of sunlight gleaming through slits in the clouds. Rain pouring down over there. Again way over there - then on top of you! It's just a wonderful weather experience.
Even if you can't go for an outdoor adventure that one day. Because the Tucson Arizona weather is forecasting imminent Monsoon thunderstorms. Well, enjoy the experience, maybe from a covered patio or veranda - I know you will! It is an experience!