The monsoon is a seasonal wind shift over the west that can and has produced tremendous rain, and Montana’s getting a drink right now.
This shift also happens in India, Western Africa and Australia. The strength and duration of this shift vary from year to year. However, over the last several years the monsoon has not been strong leading to increasing drought across the southwestern United States. That lack of a monsoon shift helped create less wildfire activity here in Montana.
The return of a strong monsoon this year has contributed to extreme fire behavior in the Northern Rockies, but incredible drought-busting and wildfire-busting rain in the southwestern united states.
The monsoon wind shift draws in moisture to the west from the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific, and the Gulf of California.
Deep moisture results in torrential thunderstorms. Flash flooding is a serious danger during the monsoon. Many areas of the Four Corners region have had more flooding issues than wildfire issues for the last month or more.
Typically for Montana, the monsoon means hotter temperatures and more dry thunderstorms that produce lightning and new wildfire starts. However, at times enough moisture travels all the way from the southwest to Montana resulting in timely downpours.
When it rains, it pours...at least this time anyway.