(WMC) - As we wrap up the month of July and head into August, here in the Mid-South we are transitioning into what is typically the driest period of the year.
Memphis averages about three inches of rain during the month of August, but in the southwestern U.S., August is one of the wettest months of the year.
It's monsoon season in the desert and this year, major flooding in Arizona is making national headlines.
A monsoon isn't a big storm, it's a season shift in wind patterns over a specific region. The National Weather Service defines a monsoon as a thermally-driven wind arising from differential heating between a land mass and the adjacent ocean that reverses its direction seasonally.
In North America, monsoon season starts between May and June and peaks between July and August. This mainly impacts Arizona and New Mexico but it can also affect Utah, Colorado, and southern California.
This year year Tucson, Arizona has experienced its sixth wettest monsoon season on record with data going back to 1894. A recent study conducted by the University of Arizona has found that Arizona has been getting few monsoons, but they have been more intense than that in the past 50 years.
This year Tucson has recorded over six inches of rain in 2017, which is about an inch above average. Recent monsoons have brought excessive rainfall to the area making up for that surplus. As July began, Tucson was just over two inches below average for annual rainfall.
The recent two week monsoon outburst has put this year ahead of another record year in 2016. The upside to the excessive rainfall is the dent that it's putting in drought conditions that have been in place for much of the year.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor 66 percent of Arizona is currently under moderate drought conditions compare to 78 percent just over a week ago.