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El Niño May Delay Onset of the Monsoon


Monsoon season officially began June 15th. The word "monsoon" is derived from the Arabic word "mausim" which means season . During the summer months, winds shift from our predominant westerly direction to  a southerly  direction. This allows moisture from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico to stream into the region. This year El Niño (warmer than average tropical Pacific Ocean water) is still present and predicted to continue through summer. El Niño is loosely correlated to the onset of our monsoon as the westerly storm track continues to stay active, suppressing the monsoon circulation. 


NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a slight tilt towards drier than average conditions through August in southern and central Arizona with equal chances for northern Arizona.   

El Nino may feed into a wetter monsoon pattern late in the season as tropical storm systems may be pulled further north come September.  Check out the presentation released by the NWS Tucson.