The Sonoran Desert transitioned from 116°F days in late June to monsoonal rains in the span of three weeks. We experienced daily highs of over 100°F and less than 10% humidity for twenty days straight. Mid-July now, and thunderstorms are the daily norm. Areal monsoon rains result from moisture from the Sea of Cortés and Pacific Ocean streaming across the Mexican Sonoran into the Southwest.

The once dry Rillito River now flows from bank to bank, nearly 200m wide.

Tucson’s extensive system of flood control canals, bridges and berms channel the water southwest to the Santa Cruz River. Prior to the beginning of the monsoon season, Tishla noticed baby cottontails and quail in the bush, born in anticipation of the sprouting of the desert floor and foothillls.

The Catalina Mountains appear verdant in the morning haze. By late morning, the sky clears and the sun bakes nearby adobe horse ranches, heating them to the century mark. Late afternoon, and dark clouds, thick with moisture, rumble a warning, then the torrent begins. Our enclosed yard fills, the adobe soil resisting absorption of the downpour. The rain breaks the grip of the day’s heat, the inhabitants of the Sonora renewed with the summer rains.

By civil twilight, Venus and her consort Mars rise above the remnants of the storm clouds, high above the cornscataceous air. The desert vistas extend to New Mexico, the dusty mesquite groves washed clean by the monsoon. Just as the rains renew the Redwoods, so too the monsoons refresh the deserts of Arizona.

You might enjoy a link I posted last year, on 06/10/16: – thanks for reading.

Credits: Tishla contributed the lead image and the orange sunrise photo to this post.

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