As I type, the smell of approaching rain is drifting through my open window. It’s 4:00 p.m. and the clouds have been building all afternoon after a starry night, and muggy morning. Must be time for the Arizona monsoon! A meteorologist I’m not, but you can learn all about this seasonal shift in prevailing winds and welcome rains by following this link. (no longer available)
In northern Arizona, the monsoon season arrived on the Fourth of July weekend—a full three weeks early with history as a guide. It was not a moment too soon, as the much-feared wildfire season of 2006 was just starting to erupt in the tinderbox forests of the region. After our dry-as-a-bone winter, we locals braced for catastrophic wildfires that promised to scorch huge tracts of forested highlands. To be sure, a few have broken out. Just ask the relieved residents of Sedona who survived the fast-moving Brins Fire which was eventually contained by a few hundred firefighters at great expense.
We’re not…ahem…out of the woods yet, but the sporadic afternoon “soakers” may just get us through another year without too many coniferous casualties. Keep your fingers crossed, and, if you’re headed to the Canyon anytime soon, have your rain slicker handy.