Arizona’s 2017 monsoon is well underway.
Here are the latest updates on storm activity and forecasts affecting the Phoenix metro area.
July 15, 9:30 p.m.: Storms cleared from the Valley
The storms had cleared out of the Phoenix metro area by the later evening hours after drenching the West Valley and central Phoenix., causing flight delays and diversions at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and shutting down power for nearly 6,000.
Weather officials said the southeastern part of the state could still expect to see rain, but added that it would likely clear out as the evening progresses.
A National Weather Service radar map showed the most severe weather at 9 p.m. was near Benson, about 45 miles southeast of Tucson.
July 15, 6:15 p.m.: Rain, hail hits central Phoenix
The storm made its way to central Phoenix just after 6 p.m., with the Arizona Department of Transportation reporting heavy rains falling from the Stack to the Loop 202 in Tempe.
Some hail was spotted on the Interstate 10 near 27th Avenue just after 6:15 p.m., ADOT reported.
July 15, 6 p.m.: Road closures in Surprise, Peoria
Surprise and Peoria public safety officials were reporting multiple road closures due to the storm, most because of downed trees or power lines in the road. Here are areas to avoid:
- Dysart Road at Grand Avenue.
- Southbound Bullard at Tierra Buena.
- 98th Avenue and Deer Valley Road.
- Westbound Bell Road at Westpoint Parkway.
- Westbound Bell Road at Mountain View Boulevard.
- Westbound bell Road at 165th Avenue
July 15, 6 p.m.: Dust storm hits West Valley
The Arizona Department of Transportation reported there was a dust storm over Interstate 10 in the far West Valley. Drivers were advised to stay off the road.
Drivers already on the road are advised to pull over during a dust storm.
July 15, 5:30 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warning in northwest Valley
Weather officials issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the northwest Valley Saturday evening.
The warning includes Glendale, Peoria and Surprise, and lasts until 6 p.m.
The Surprise Police Department reported high winds were blowing trees down across the city.
Police asked residents to avoid driving, if possible.
July 15, 5 p.m.: Storms move into the Valley
Storms were making their way toward the Valley early Saturday evening, kicking up wind and dust in areas such as Scottsdale and Coolidge.
Radar maps showed the cells were moving toward the Valley from the north, with heavy rain reported along Interstate 17 near Jomax Road.
The National Weather Service issued a blowing dust advisory for portions of Pinal County, including along the Interstate 10 corridor.
The advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. and could bring winds of up to 40 mph.
Visibility in areas affected by blowing dust could be less than one mile, according to weather officials.
July 15, 11:15 a.m.: Officials confirm tornado set down in Marana on Friday
National Weather Service officials confirmed a landspout tornado set down in Marana, north of Tucson, at 6:55 p.m. Friday. Officials had issued a tornado warning in that area.
According to the National Weather Service, a landspout tornado forms from the ground upward, unlike supercell tornadoes commonly seen in the Midwest that form from the clouds downward.
July 15, 9 a.m.: Storm damage reported at Lake Pleasant
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office reported the Lake Pleasant area received some damage from Friday’s monsoon storm, which produced high winds and choppy water.
Lake patrol deputies helped rescue three juveniles caught in the storm on waverunners and two women on paddle boards. One of the women was not wearing a life jacket and nearly drowned. She was taken to the hospital but was expected to make a full recovery.
Multiple boats were damaged during the storm, according to the Sheriff’s Office, including several that were totaled. The roof of the Scorpion Bay Marina was partially ripped off and the boat lift in the Sheriff’s Office boat house was damaged.
July 15, 8:30 a.m.: Weekend thunderstorms to cool things off
Saturday morning, temperatures in Phoenix reached a low of 89 degrees. The occurrence of thunderstorms was forecast to become more widespread over the weekend and into next week, allowing a reprieve from triple-digit highs.
Farther south, the National Weather Service in Tucson showed strong and wet storms would have a “marginal” effect through central and southern Arizona. Some were expected to become severe Saturday evening.
Storm movements will be to the southwest at about 15-20 mph and strong, gusty winds in excess of 50 mph in addition to heavy rainfall may contribute to flash floods.
“May the odds ever be in your favor,” the agency tweeted.
July 14, 7:50 p.m. Severe thunderstorm watch in Maricopa, Pinal counties lifted
The National Weather Service lifted severe thunderstorm watches for Maricopa and Pinal counties saying the threat “had greatly diminished.”
Heavy storms earlier in the evening were prominent in southern Pinal County near Red Rock, where a tornado warning had expired at 7:30 p.m.
And the first major dust storm of this monsoon season blew through the Phoenix area earlier in the evening, but did not deliver significant rains.
NWS officials have said that the chance of significant storm activity in the Phoenix area is expected to increase this weekend.
July 14, 6:45 p.m. Tornado warning in Red Rock
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for an area along the Interstate 10 corridor near Red Rock, north of Marana in southern Arizona.
The National Weather Service said the warning would be in effect until 7:30 p.m.
A blowing dust advisory was in effect along I-10 until 8 pm.
July 14, 5:15 p.m. Blowing dust advisory added as storms move into Valley from north, east
The National Weather Service issued a blowing dust advisory for metro Phoenix as storms continued their push into the Valley.late Friday afternoon.
The advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. There is potential for winds stronger than 40 mph and visibility less than 1 mile.
The advisory came as clusters of monsoon storms moved into the Phoenix metro area from the north, prompting a severe thunderstorm warning for the northwest Valley. Storms also were building in areas near the far southeast Valley moving toward the metro areas.
In addition, 50 mph winds were recorded in the Wickenburg area as another major cell moved though.
The NWS urged drivers to be safe while driving in dust or rain storms.
A flood advisory was also issued in south-central Yavapai County as storms moved into the Valley from the north, the NWS said.
The advisory is in effect until 7:45 p.m. and includes areas near the Valley including Castle Hot Springs, Rock Springs and Black Canyon City.
July 14, 4:45 p.m. Severe thunderstorm warning for areas northwest of Phoenix
A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for a large area of the northwest Valley until 5:15 p.m., the National Weather Service said.
The advisory includes Glendale, Peoria, Surprise and Anthem.
In addition, a band of storms were building in areas northeast of the Valley and moving toward metro Phoenix.
July 14, 11 a.m.: Ozone advisory for Maricopa County
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued an ozone High Pollution Advisory for Maricopa County, effective July 14 and 15.
Ozone levels were expected to accumulate enough to exceed the federal health standard.
People most affected by ozone include children, senior citizens, people who work or exercise outdoors and people with pre-existing respiratory disease. Ozone-related health problems include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches, nausea, and throat and lung irritation.
Visit cleanairmakemore.com for tips on reducing air pollution.
Ozone is a big deal. Here’s what you should know about this colorless gas that can cause a variety of health issues.
July 13, 6:45 p.m.: Storm approaching Scottsdale
A strong storm was approaching central Scottsdale just after 6:30 p.m., the National Weather Service said.
The storm was bringing strong winds along with it, with wind gusts of up to 40 mph possible until 7 p.m., officials said.
July 13, 5:30 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warning for part of Maricopa County
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for areas of northeast Maricopa County, including Carefree until 6 p.m.
Satellite radar was showing strong storms building to the northeast and east of Maricopa County, which could produce outflow winds into eastern areas of Maricopa County.
A flood advisory was issued for areas near the Tonto Basin east of the Valley until 7 p.m., as heavy rains moved through the area.
July 13, 3:15 p.m.: Storms build near Flagstaff, Tucson
The National Weather Service in Tucson and Flagstaff both reported isolated and scattered thunderstorms on Thursday as later-afternoon monsoon storms again built while Phoenix remained dry.
There was a strong thunderstorm rolling over Black Canyon City north of Phoenix, delivering them heavy rainfall and strong winds. Heavy rainfall also occurred on just northeast of Payson.
National Weather Service Tucson said areas northeast of Safford and throughout Santa Cruz County should expect strong storms on Thursday.
The National Weather Service in Phoenix had predicted the chances of storms moving into the Valley would increase over the upcoming weekend. Storms weren’t expected to do much in the Phoenix area Wednesday, but a heavy cell moved through the northeast Valley and another hit part of the northwest Valley.
July 12: Storms roll through north Valley
A monsoon storm was rolling through northeast Phoenix and northern Scottsdale Wednesday evening, prompting the National Weather Service to issue an advisory.
In addition, a storm was moving through the Surprise area in the northwest Valley.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued earlier for areas near Fountain Hills and Rio Verde to the northeast, as well as far eastern Maricopa County near Tortilla Flat, the National Weather Service said.
A National Weather Service tweet said the Scottsdale-area storm was heading southeast and included gusty winds, lightning and heavy rain.
July 12: Old-school monsoon dates
If the old-school method still held, Arizona’s monsoon would have started on July 9.
The old system, last used by the National Weather Service in 2007, looked at the dew-point average to calculate the start of the monsoon.
“We took an average of the dew-points in Phoenix and when they got above 55 degrees … for three days, that is when we started the monsoon season,” Travis Wilson, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
The average dew-point temperature was 60 degrees on July 9, 58 degrees on July 10 and 61 degrees on July 11, Wilson said.
The National Weather Service officially recognizes monsoon season from June 15 to Sept. 30. According to Wilson, every regional office had different methods of determining when the monsoon began, so they decided in 2008 to declare a season by calendar.
“Just because it’s not raining in Phoenix – it takes a little longer for it to moisten up down here – doesn’t mean we’re not in the monsoon season,” Wilson said.
For the past 30 years, the first measurable rainfall of the monsoon in Phoenix has typically fallen around July 4. That didn’t happen until July 10 this year.
Thunderstorms start with three ingredients: an unstable atmosphere, moisture and a trigger. Wilson said that the mountainous regions up north see thunderstorms first and these storms produce “outflows” that travel down to Phoenix, where, if conditions are moist enough, more thunderstorms can be produced.
A peach-faced lovebird rides out a monsoon windstorm in a mesquite tree in Phoenix on July 14, 2017. Rob Schumacher/azcentral.com
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Images from the storm on July 14, 2017.
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An approaching monsoon storm near Surprise and Waddell kicks up a lot of dust on July 14, 2017. April Morganroth/azcentral.com
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Azcentral.com photographer Rob Schumacher shot this beautiful time-lapse video of monsoon storm thunderhead building over Carefree.
Rob Schumacher/The Republic
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Azcentral.com photographer David Kadlubowski shot this beautiful time-lapse video of a monsoon storm in Phoenix.
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A tree that fell over during a storm on July 10, 2017, is disposed of in Gold Canyon. Loren Townsley/azcentral.com
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A dust storm moves across the East Valley during a monsoon storm July 10, 2017.
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A microburst drops some rain near Waddell on July 10, 2017.
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Meteorologists’ video of storm clouds as they form and evaporate and reform and evaporate over Mount Lemmon on Aug. 17, 2006. Video shot by Joseph Zehnder; Weldon B. Johnson/azcentral.com
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Newspaper stands are knocked over as a thunderstorm makes it’s way through Phoenix.
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Wind and rain start to pick up in Northwest Valley.
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Riding out a monsoon windstorm in Phoenix
Images from Friday’s Phoenix-area storm
Monsoon storm approaches in far West Valley
Time-lapse of monsoon storm thunderhead building over Carefree
Time-lapse view of monsoon storm from Broadway curve in Phoenix
Storm downs tree in Gold Canyon
Watch a dust storm move across the East Valley
Monsoon rains hit far West Valley
Clouds form over Mount Lemmon
Downtown Phoenix, July 15, 2017
Surprise/Waddell monsoon storm
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