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Monsoon Awareness Week 2024: What you need to know

Chief Weather forecaster Melissa Zaremba brings the details with what we need to know for this monsoon season. 

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - It’s getting to that time of year where extreme heat and severe storms will be a threat here in the Desert Southwest and this week is proclaimed as Monsoon Awareness Week. 

The National Weather Service Phoenix released their 2024 Monsoon outlook which predicts that this season is expected to be hotter and drier, but that doesn't mean we are in the clear from severe weather from occurring here in the Desert Southwest.

The monsoon is not a storm, it’s a seasonal shift in our winds which causes storms to form. 

In late June and early July winds flow out of the south and southeast, bringing in moisture from the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico. 

Those southerly winds bring in moisture to the Desert Southwest. 

Then our extremely hot temperatures causes all that moisture to rise, allowing thunderstorms to form.  

“We are used to that sunny weather so you know trying to get in tuned with the impacts from thunderstorms that occur every year now is the time to start thinking about that,” says Tom Frieders from the National Weather Service Phoenix. 

These monsoon storms can pop up quickly causing strong and damaging winds that can generate dense blowing dust.  

“We say pull aside, stay alive. If you get caught in those low visibilities and you can't seem to drive pull off to the side of the road,” says Frieders.

Heavy rain, powerful lightning, and flash flooding is also part of the monsoon. 

The number one thunderstorm-related killer averaging 2 to 3 deaths in Arizona each year is flash flooding. 

“Never drive through flooded roadways. It only takes a foot of water to wash most vehicles off the road and that's where the majority of our fatalities do occur with people trying to navigate flooded roadway,”  says Frieders.

Yuma’s average monsoon rainfall is 0.97 inches.  

But no matter how much rain that falls this season the Desert Southwest will have all risks for significant and dangerous weather that can occur. 

“Protect yourself and monitor the forecast. Stay informed and look at the forecast daily,” says Frieders.

Now these storms don’t happen every day we may get sudden activity then breaks from it for days or even weeks.

Even though the monsoon season officially begins June 15th, we have to wait until July for the atmosphere to moisten up.  

Then severe weather is possible until the end of September. 

All week long Chief Weather Forecaster Melissa Zaremba will be sharing facts and important things you will need to know to ensure you are ready for the monsoon season this summer.  

Be sure to stay on top of Melissa's daily forecasts and weather alerts so you can be aware of all the active weather this monsoon season. You can also check our website for our latest weather resources right here for safety tips. Also, view the National Weather Service Phoenix Monsoon website.

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Melissa Zaremba

Melissa Zaremba joined KYMA in November 2021 and is the Chief Weather Forecaster.

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