By John Simpson

August 2019 was warmer than average and drier than average. Some fortunate spots in Arizona saw average to above average rainfall but the majority of the region was below average. This was my lead-in for last month as well. The dry summer can easily be seen when driving from Cienega High School to Empire High School and noticing the dry vegetation looking more like what we see in June instead of August.

The Tucson airport recorded the second hottest August on record and was 4 degrees above average. For rainfall, the airport recorded 1.57” which is below its 30-year average of 2.39.” At my home in Central Del Lago, I only recorded 0.76” of rain, which is well below my 9-year average of 1.95” and my driest July or August (the core monsoon months) I have recorded this decade.

Below are the August rainfall totals for the official reporting stations in Arizona compared to averages. All stations recorded below average rainfall.


Station                Average August Rainfall (Inches)                August 2019 Rainfall (Inches)

Tucson Airport      2.39                                                        1.57

Douglas                3.05                                                         2.43

Phoenix Airport    1.00                                                         0.24

Yuma                   0.47                                                         Trace

Flagstaff               3.11                                                         0.41

Winslow              1.20                                                         0.31

Prescott                2.62                                                         0.30

Kingman              0.97                                                         0.29

Rainfall totals for the Vail area ranged from a low 0.75” at Central Del Lago and Corona to 2 plus inches in parts of Rita Ranch, I-10 and Kolb, the Rincon Foothills and southern Mescal. Most areas were between 1-2 inches. Some parts of the Tucson Metro area saw above average rainfall. Parts of the Tucson Mountain foothills, a small part of the Catalina foothills and a small portion of the northeast side saw over 3” of rain. Much of the city was between the 1-2” range with parts of the northwest side along I-10 struggling to reach 0.50” (source Much of the area south of Tucson faired quite well with Bisbee recording around 5” and many locations reporting over 3.” North of Tucson has really struggled with monsoonal rainfall this season. For example, the Flagstaff and Phoenix airports have both only received 20% of their July plus August average rainfall whereas much of the area from Tucson southward is 50% of average or better.

Remember, monsoonal rainfall is highly variable and great ranges in rainfall amounts can be recorded in just a few miles distance. For next month, I will report on September and provide the full 2019 monsoon report.

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