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Arizona Monsoon Activity Off To Late Start

Humid, overcast days are a reminder that the Valley is already a month into the monsoon season.

But shouldn't the area have seen more activity by now?

Arizona and Mexico can receive up to half of their annual rainfall during intense, localized storms brought by the wind and pressure shifts that produce monsoons.

Since 2008, the start of the season has been set to June 15. That date corresponds to the onset of monsoon conditions in Mexico, not Arizona, said Ken Waters with the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

"We typically start seeing at least some influence of the monsoon usually about the first week of July. It's actually running a little behind schedule," Waters said. 

Waters said the service adopted fixed dates because the science behind using dew point was weak, and because the service wanted to focus more on monsoon threats and potential impacts.

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Nicholas Gerbis joined KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk in 2016. A longtime science, health and technology journalist and editor, his extensive background in related nonprofit and science communications inform his reporting on Earth and space sciences, neuroscience and behavioral health, and bioscience/biotechnology.Apart from travel and three years in Delaware spent earning his master’s degree in physical geography (climatology), Gerbis has spent most of his life in Arizona. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree in geography (climatology/meteorology), also from ASU.Gerbis briefly “retired in reverse” and moved from Arizona to Wisconsin, where he taught science history and science-fiction film courses at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is glad to be back in the Valley and enjoys contributing to KJZZ’s Untold Arizona series.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerbis focused almost solely on coronavirus-related stories and analysis. In addition to reporting on the course of the disease and related research, he delved into deeper questions, such as the impact of shutdowns on science and medicine, the roots of vaccine reluctance and the policies that exacerbated the virus’s impact, particularly on vulnerable populations.