PHOENIX -- Monsoon season is wrapping up at the end of September, and this summer turned out to be one of the wettest rainfall periods the valley has seen in several years.
"It was the wettest since we've been tracking it back to 1990 for July and August at 5.02 inches," said Jaret Rogers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, told FOX 10 in Phoenix.
If you factor in the entire state, it's the sixth-wettest monsoon, Rogers said.
The heavy rains, winds and dust storms that pounded the state for many days are a stark contrast to last year at this time when Arizonans were lucky to catch a couple of drops of rain.
"Last summer was basically the complete opposite to this summer," Rogers said. "It was the driest and hottest summer on record across the whole state, so we didn't get the rainfall then. We also got the really hot temperatures."
Rogers says normally the summer monsoons aren't enough to help with the drought and longer-term water supply because it happens during such a short time period. But this year could be different.
"We've had such a wet monsoon that actually we've seen a lot of drought improvement across the state," he said. "We had 86% of Arizona in the most significant drought Categories D3 and D4 -- extreme and exceptional drought. That is down to 14% now."
He adds that we're in for plenty of cooler and drier days ahead.
"We are expecting it to be a drier winter ahead, so we're not going to get as much rain as normal," he said.
Tucson aims for record wet monsoon
Phoenix isn't the only spot in Arizona closing in on a record-wet monsoon. Tucson sits at its third-wettest monsoon at 12.78 inches, just under an inch from its all-time wettest record of 13.84 inches set in 1964. Second place is at 13.08 inches. The average monsoon rainfall is 5.55 inches.
Forecasters say there is still a chance of rain for Tucson on Wednesday and Thursday to attempt to move higher in the record books.
Although the current weather pattern is not monsoonal, more rain will be possible in Tucson before the end of the 2021 monsoon season on Sep. 30th. Will Tucson move up in the ranks of the wettest on record? #azwx pic.twitter.com/Ul7HiVe1Rj— NWS Tucson (@NWSTucson) September 27, 2021
The monsoon season runs June 15-Sept. 30 and gets its rainfall and thunderstorms when both the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico blow warm, moist air towards to southwestern portion of the United States.