Arizona Monsoons ...and the thunder rolls ....

Posted by Kathleen Prince on April 21, 2016

When the humidity rises to uncomfortable levels, the wind picks up and clouds start rolling in.   The monsoon season has arrived.

Monsoon season runs from mid-June through September.   In the summer, the winds in Arizona shift from westerly to southeasterly, bringing moisture from the

Haboob 2011

Monsoon haboob rolls towards Poston Butte Golf Course, Florence, AZ

Gulfs of Mexico and California.  This wind shift and increase in moisture combine with the surface low pressure from the desert heat to produce storms with heavy rain.  Before the rain, this wind shift can trigger dust storms known as haboobs – walls of dust several hundred feet high.  The shot to the left was taken from my back porch.  In a matter of minutes, we were completely engulfed in dust.


Arizona receives over half of its annual rainfall (12 inches per year) during the monsoon season.   Downpours often do not last very long, but the rainfall is very heavy.  Quite often, a monsoon storm brings with it thunder and lightning.    This is a great time to grab a camera and try your hand at shooting lightning.   My approach is to set the camera on a tripod, with a long exposure – usually 30 seconds or so.    Aim out towards an active area in the sky, and click……  this takes patience and often many tries …  but the end result is worth it.   If lucky, you will capture a lightning bolt or two!   I am always excited to see what colors and shapes the lightning will create.


For more lightning shots, check out my Nature photo gallery here, or at FineArtAmerica.

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