The above pic. from the U.S. Dept. of the Interior Twitter Page is lightning over the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico.
This has been a very significant monsoon season in the Desert Southwest. The Southwest monsoon is a period in summer when there are scattered to widely scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly during the afternoon and evening. Rainfall from the monsoon can amount to up to half of annual precipitation in Arizona and New Mexico.
Monsoon thundershowers can bring isolated heavy rain that can cause flash flooding.
Yesterday, Carefree AZ reported 1.5″ of rain. Alamogordo NM had 2.05″ and El Paso TX recorded 0.74″. Prescott AZ has had 3.18″ of rain this month, 1.54″ above average. Las Vegas NV has had 0.61″. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s 3 times the average.
The rainfall has brought the daytime temperature down a bit. Phoenix had a high temp. of 97 on Saturday, 8 degrees below their average high of 105. Yuma recorded a high of 99 – compared to an average high of 106.
The Colorado River at the Grand Canyon reached average flow for the date yesterday – 14,200 cubic feet per second. Other spots along the river are still below average flow for the date, but have been very slowly coming up.
The problem is there are more people in the Southwest. Did you know that Phoenix AZ is now the 5th largest city in the U.S. by population. The population of California has doubled since the mid 1970s. Las Vegas NV had a population of 25 in 1900. By 1940, it was up to 8,422 – about the size of Greenville or Albion MI today. In 1970, Las Vegas was up to 125,787 – about the size of Lansing MI. Today, Las Vegas has more residents than Detroit.
All those people need water and the Colorado River only has so much water to give. They need to think about desalination of ocean water – yeah it’s expensive, but there is an unlimited supply of ocean water – it’s not dependent on the day-to-day and season-to-season changes in weather and even longer term changes in climate. Here’s an article about desalination in Israel.