Arizona climate experts forecast good odds for wet 2022 monsoon season

Mar 18, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: 9:55 am
(Frank Molter/dpa via AP)...
(Frank Molter/dpa via AP)
(Frank Molter/dpa via AP)

PHOENIX – Arizona climate experts say the odds of either near or above-average rainfall are looking quite good with three months to go before the start of the 2022 monsoon season.

The official calendar start of monsoon months is June 15. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center said there was nearly a 70% chance for south-central Arizona to get a decent amount of rain for summer.

Monsoon season ends Sept. 30.

“One thing to realize is that with the monsoon, there are winners and losers. It’s not blanket rainfall across the entire state. Some places do better than others,” Arizona State University climatologist Randy Cerveny told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

But a hot spring is likely to precede the rain, which worries Cerveny the state could see another active and severe wildfire season.

With 75% of the state in drought after a weak winter, that number is due to climb in the coming weeks.

“I don’t see us really having any springtime rain,” Cerveny said. “We will probably have an early and potentially bad fire season.

“Without having any good snow cover that allows the soil to dry out quickly … the vegetation will die and become incredible fuel for fires.”

Last year, approximately 525,000 acres burned statewide, including the massive Telegraph Fire (more than 180,000 acres) east of the Valley in the Globe-Miami-Superior areas.

More than 50 structures including homes were damaged or destroyed in the sixth-largest fire in Arizona history.

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Arizona climate experts forecast good odds for wet 2022 monsoon season