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Tucson's 2021 monsoon is inching its way to becoming the wettest on record

  • Updated
  • 1 min to read

A man and his dog skirt a flooded section of The Loop along the Rillito River near Swan Road following Tuesday’s monsoon over central Tucson.

With over six weeks remaining in the 2021 monsoon, there is a chance this year takes the top spot as the wettest monsoon on record.

So far, the total rainfall for the monsoon, June 15 through Sept. 30, is 11.86 inches, according to the National Weather Service. The wettest monsoon in Tucson was 13.84 inches in 1964.

The NWS said the Tucson International Airport would need to record 1.99 inches of rain to break the record by Sept. 30. The average amount of rain that falls in the last six weeks of the season is generally 2.33 inches. Looking back to 1895, 39% of the years have recorded more than 2.55 inches of rain by Sept. 30, the NWS said.

As for now, the 2021 monsoon remains the third wettest monsoon. The second wettest monsoon was in 1955 with a total of 13.08 inches of rain, the NWS said.

Two cyclists ride their bikes as the Santa Cruz River flows at St. Mary’s Road in Tucson on Aug. 17, 2021.

2021 is also the third wettest calendar year on record, passing the annual average of 10.61 inches of rainfall. This year’s total rainfall is 12.90 inches, the NWS said. The wettest year to date was in 1905 with 15.21 inches.

While the airport only recorded 0.2 inches of rain early Wednesday morning, Tuesday night’s storm reported 1 inch to almost 2 inches of rain northeast of airport, the NWS said.

Tuesday’s storm also caused some damage to the area near Irvington Road and Country Club Road. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said deputies had responded to multiple downed power poles and trees due to the storm.

Due to the storm, the Tucson Community Food Bank will be closed on Thursday, Aug. 19. The food bank said it needed time to clean up and repair damage after tents came down during the storm. The food bank is expected to open again on Aug. 24.

Wednesday was predicted to be the last day for thunderstorm activity as the rest of the week is expected to dry out and Tucson will see a break in monsoon activity, the NWS said. Chances of rain return early next week.

A person stands under a tree with an umbrella while a monsoon passes over East Pima Street on Tuesday.


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