Every Fall I do a post looking at historical Monsoon rainfall in Tucson, so let’s update it for 2021. After a historically miserable season in 2020, we went to the third best monsoon on record this year. Exhibit 1 shows monthly rainfall in 2021 compared to Normal. We started off with a pretty typical June, had a very strong July (wettest July on record) and a respectable August. Then, unfortunately, things petered out in September ending the season with whimper and unable to break the records.
Exhibit 1 – 2021 Tucson Monsoon Compared to Normal
Still, at 12.78 inches of rain, we had third best season on record (Exhibit 2). A more interesting way to look at this data is shown in Exhibit 3 (top 3 are in green, bottom 3 in red). Last time we had over 10 inches was 15 years ago in 2006. To find the two years wetter than 2021, you have to go back about 60 years to 1964 and 1955.
Exhibit 2 – Best and Worst Tucson Monsoons
Exhibit 3 – Annual Tucson Monsoons Totals
Exhibit 4 shows a comparison of 2021 season among major Desert Southwest metros. Tucson had the best showing in both absolute terms and relative to its normal amount. El Paso, Yuma also had good years. Phoenix was 73% above its normal, but still only got about 1/3 of Tucson’s rainfall. ABQ and Vegas were the two cities with below average seasons.
Exhibit 4 – 2021 Monsoon by City
Here are a few links if you would like to play around with more detailed Tucson climate data: