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Monsoon rains

Kentucky
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278 posts
4 reviews
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Monsoon rains

I was reading on another post that we can expect monsoon rains in August and September. Is that everyday at a particular time like Florida, or are they unexpected at anytime of day? And is that in Sedona as well?

washington, missouri
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319 posts
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1. Re: Monsoon rains

Last year we arrived at Sky Harbor airport in mid September and headed for the South Rim. About an hour out of Phoenix we encounted heavy rain which lasted all the way to Flagstaff. After Flagstaff it tapered off and by the time we made it to Desert View it had stopped. We had ideal weather for the remainder of our time at the Grand Canyon which was three more days. It was quite cool though but perfect for the hike to Phantom Ranch.

The weather can be just like anywhere else...... raining when it is not supposed to or dry when it should be raining. You just have to take your chances with Mother Nature.

grand.canyon.national-park.com/weather.htm

Check out the above link for the average weather stats for the Grand Canyon.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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55,820 posts
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2. Re: Monsoon rains

Summer rains are perfectly normal. It happens all over the world. Here in AZ we call it the monsoon, because it's actually a shift in the wind patterns. I'm no meteorologist, but this is what I've learned since I've been visiting/living in Sedona.

Normally our weather pattern is determined by the jet stream aka the 'prevailing westerlies'. During the monsoon, the wind pattern shifts and the weather heats up down in Mexico and then comes north and follows a counterclockwise motion that brings in afternoon rain and dust storms (sometimes called haboobs). The storms can carry high winds and many have awesome lightning. And of course there's rain. The storms are generally brief, but the rainfall can be plentiful, and due to our desert ground conditions, flash flooding is often the result. Flash floods are very real and extremely dangerous. If you are in you car (or anywhere) where a new stream or puddle of water has formed quickly, you'll often see a sign that says 'Do Not Enter When Flooded' These washes are the paths for the walls of rushing water that are associated with flash floods. Heed the signs and know the danger. The puddle can be deceptive, or the wall of water that follows can come upon you in a moment so fast that you never realize what hit you.

The other characteristic of these storms is that because of the swirling wind, you can't look to the sky and see it moving away from you, or seemingly so, and rely on that. Just as quickly, the storm can swing around and suddenly you're in the middle of it! We learned this lesson the hard way on one of our early trips to Sedona. We were playing golf and I was watching the dark clouds moving up from the south, but well away from us to the east. I determined that the storm was going to miss us. Suddenly, within no more than 3 minutes, it swirled around and unloaded on us from the west. Of course, we were no where near any shelter, and we got drenched. A lesson well learned.

Bottom line for visitors. The monsoon rains do happen. When they do they're generally brief, but spectacular to observe from a safe place and they do merit respect.

Mesa, Arizona
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3,796 posts
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3. Re: Monsoon rains

It use to be completely predictable durring the monsoon season. It would rain between noon and 4 pm now its anything goes. And it can be everyday but doesn't last very long but it can rain very hard in a short amount of time. This also brings about the flash flood warnings. If we are getting a huge downpoor in Williams the run off will hit Sedona area in about 30+ mins. I've seen flash floods while facinating they are deadly. So if you are hiking in a low lying valley and its raining nearby just be careful.

The monsoon weather will hit all of Arizona some areas get hit worse than others. A couple of years ago it flooded so bad that a couple of the ranches and the cattle dams were completely wiped out and the water lines on the trees were to the tops of the 12 foot trees.

Just bring a cheap poncho or a light weight rain jacket. They usually happen in the afternoon but a meterologist is the only job you can have and be wrong 90% of the time and not get fired. LOL I love the lightning storms mainly around sedona and twards Phoenix are something else to see.

Don't let it detour your plans its still a great time of the year to visit Arizona.

Kentucky
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278 posts
4 reviews
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4. Re: Monsoon rains

Thank you for your replies. I'm not going to let it stop me from doing anything. I will take your warnings seriously. I like watching a good lightning storm as long as I'm somewhere safe to watch it. I can't wait until we leave, still four monthes off. All of you have been a big help in helping us plan this dream vacation. Thank you again.

5. Re: Monsoon rains

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