This is the time of year where we look for the seasonal wind shift in the Southwest, commonly called the Summer Monsoon. The usual west-to-east wind pattern shifts to some version of east to west or southeast to northwest. This wind shift brings tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and even eastern Pacific into New Mexico, Arizona and parts of California, Nevada and Utah. With the arrival of this moisture, we end the everyday dry weather pattern to one that is considerably more humid and uncomfortable. The moisture is also converted into showers and thunderstorms by the strong heating of the day. The thunderstorms can also bring with them haboobs, or severe dust storms.
The rain with the monsoon season is mostly welcomed. It helps to bring at least some rain to a part of the year that would normally have none. However, too much rain can fall too quickly in thunderstorms and produce violent, life-threatening flash floods in normally dry washes. Thunderstorms, while bringing rain, can also bring lightning that starts fires miles away from where any rain falls.
The models are showing that this shift in the winds could come as soon as early next week as high pressure aloft builds around the Four Corners. Here is a look at what the GFS is forecasting for the 500 mb flow by July 1.
Other models, including the fairly reliable European model, is forecasting something similar.
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A strong storm system will bring the first significant round of rain to Southern California early this week.
Santa Ana winds will whip across Southern California again Saturday night into Sunday morning leading to an increased fire threat.
Several major fires have ignited across Southern California as Santa Ana winds continue to whip across the area.
One of the strongest Santa Ana wind episodes of the season is expected this week across Southern California.
The northwestern U.S. will continue to get pounded with rain, wind and snow this week as several storm systems move through. The second half of the week will turn more active for California as the storms dip farther south.
Another storm system will arrive in the Northwest Saturday night bringing more snow as chilly air remains in place.
Two storm systems will deliver mountain snow and rain to the Northwest and California over the next few days.
Gusty winds will continue into Monday across California but winds will gradually weaken. A late week storm will bring cooler air and rain to the state.