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July was a good monsoon month

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By Scot Johnson

Los Alamos County had rain on 20 days in July, so the monsoon appeared to be in full swing. But how much the monsoon is to be credited for the rain is questionable.

Indeed, the first major storms of the month, which brought a combined 1.3 inches of rain on July 5th and 6th and the largest hail this meteorologist has ever seen, had perfect monsoon conditions associated with them.

These include very high dewpoint temperatures in Tucson, Phoenix, and El Paso shortly beforehand, indicating mucho moisture in the atmosphere there, plus strong high pressure over Texas sweeping this abundant moisture up from the south.

The golf ball sized hail of Monday, July 6th, was so large that the projectiles, in order to accrete ice as much as they did, must have made several passes up and down a convective column (a cloud) of deep vertical development, courtesy of violent updrafts, before falling down onto local cars and roofs.

From July 7th through 19th, however, only 0.07 inches of rain was measured in Los Alamos.

The storm that relieved the dry-spell on July 20th and 21st was not due to the monsoon but came from the north.


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