Monsoon, non-soon: Storms were hit and miss in Verde Valley

This year’s monsoon is described by the weather service as below average across the Verde Valley.

This year’s monsoon is described by the weather service as below average across the Verde Valley.

VERDE VALLEY - If you ask a professional meteorologist, they will tell you the 2011 monsoon rainfall was below average, but not quite a non-soon, on the Verde watershed.

But if you have lived in Arizona for any length of time, you know that your perspective on our summer storms is totally dependent on where you were standing when the rain came...or not.

In the Verde Valley there are at least 26 private citizens who report regularly on the website rainlog.org. Their accounting of the 2011 summer rains validates that point.

"I would describe this year's monsoon at my house as weak, but readable. I'd get a quarter of an inch here, 12 one-hundredths there -- just catching the edges of the storms," says Jerry Modero, a regular contributor to rainlog.org, who has a private but accurate rain gauge on the Verde Santa Fe Golf Course.

Had it not been for a lone late-season rainstorm, Modero says he might have described 2011 as a non-soon.

"A good monsoon or a bad monsoon can really depend on which side of the street you live on. On the last day of the season my house hit a bull's eye that dumped about an inch and a third.

"You just have to take it in generalities. One station may not report a whole lot, but three others do," he says.

According to rainlog.com, Jerome saw over 10 inches of rain this season. But gauges in Cornville and the Village of Oak Creek reported less than 3.

In VOC, where eight individuals report to the site, totals for the summer varied between just shy of 6 inches to less than 2 and a half inches.

"Jerome typically sees more rain than the valley floor. That's because it's on the mountain, and places like Cornville and VOC are in the rain shadow of Black Hills. The further from the hills the less rain that will see," Modero notes.

On a broader perspective, the Flagstaff weather service reports that Verde Valley rainfall totals varied between 40 percent of normal and 90 percent of normal.

Normal for the Verde Valley as a whole is 5.5 inches according to the weather service.

"For much of the Mogollon Rim and to the north we were pretty much average. However, for the area south and west of the rim, indeed it was a below average monsoon," says Brian Klimowski, meteorologist in charge with the Flagstaff Weather Service.

Klimowski notes that the unpredictably of the monsoon forces his office to not only gear up a notch for the monsoon, but also to reach out to area weather spotters, such as the 26 folks who report to rainlog.org, for accurate reports.

"We bring in an additional forecaster for the monsoon season to work from noon to 8 p.m. His job is specifically for warnings and advisories.

"But we also use a number of weather spotters across Northern Arizona," Klimowski says. "They serve as our eyes on the skies. The weather radar can only show us so much. The best weather information comes from them."

Jerome 10.16

Cottonwood 7.56 to 7.03

Cornville 6.17 to 2.32

Camp Verde 5.72

Beaver Creek 6.58 to 6.26

Sedona 6.16 to 6.00

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