Record Heat and Growing Drought in Southwestern U.S. Thanks to Missing Monsoon

The monsoon season in the Southwest has basically been inactive so far this year, which has led to an expansion of drought and record heat in the region.

The upper-level setup has not been ideal for ample rainfall to drench the Southwest or for heat relief to arrive this season, which lasts from June 15-September 30. 

At this time of year, the area of high pressure is typically located in the southern Rockies or southern Plains, which allows for moisture to flow into the Southwest from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico. However, this year, that is not happening. 

This week, a ridge of high pressure over Mexico and the Southwest will center over Arizona and New Mexico, this is unfavorable for monsoon moisture. 

At the start of June, about 14% of Arizona was in drought, however as of August 4, 82% of the state is now experiencing drought conditions. It is a similar story in New Mexico where 95% of the state is now in drought, compared to 44% in June. 

Southern Nevada, Arizona, and southern Utah are experiencing one of the driest summers on record.