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Monsoon Season

It has rained here in Tucson.

That in itself is a pretty amazing experience. Apparently, we are just at the cusp of the monsoon season, however, so for the next month these monsoon rains will be a regular event.

I was in Phoenix earlier this week for a night, so I missed the first monsoon rain. I didn't have to wait long for the next event, though. The day I arrived back in Tucson, it was brilliantly sunny outside, quite hot of course. There was a strange sensation in the air, something called....humidity, I think. I hadn't experienced that for some time now. According to the local news, these monsoon rains need those hot temperatures and sunny, cloudless days to develop the incredibly powerful storms. Cloudy mornings spell a dry afternoon around here.

So, about six in the evening, ominous clouds began building east of Tucson. Darkly bruised and laced with lightning, they came up very quickly, even as the sun continued to shine brightly. By seven, the rain started, and it was very powerful. I wouldn't have expected that sort of rainfall in the desert, it just came in waves, accompanied by wind and lightning.

When it started to let up a little, my friends Scott and Lindsay jumped in my Rav4 and we headed out to check the damaged. Since arriving here, we've noticed the large number of gullies that roads pass through, most containing the warning, "Do Not Enter If Flooded." The sandy washes seem fairly innocuous when empty, so we wanted to see what they looked like with water running through them.

We were impressed. From what we've heard, the half hour of rainfall was a relatively short storm, so potentially the amount of rain one of these storms produces could be quite impressive, as well as considerably more than what was dropped in this particular storm. Still, it was enough to fill the gullies and arroyos, and to go spilling across the roads, giving good reason for the warning signs to exist. Of course, we had to plunge through a few of the flows, although the ones we did were notably low and quite safe, with just enough water to cause some spray.

It should be noted that we are aware of the existence of the Arizona law, the Stupid Motorist Law, which basically dictates that people who deliberately drive through these gullies when there is flowing water, only to be washed off the road, are responsible for the costs of the emergency folks who come to save them. Did this stop us from spraying water around? Hardly.

Until next time, be safe. 


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