Monsoon 2021 Is Here! What Weather Can Sedona and Arizona Expect?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Realty NRDS # 146013739

Monsoon 2021!

An Arizona Summer Weather Phenomenon

Monsoon - Sedona Top Realtors - Sheri Sperry Remax SedonaBell Rock Sedona - Thunderhead Increasing

Quick Note: Every year I update this post with current information, for the most part, the science does not change, but climatic conditions vary from year to year. Sedona weather readings are gathered from the Cottages at Coffeepot weather station located in Soldiers Pass, Sedona Arizona. 

What Is Monsoon?

Monsoon is a season - Sedona, AZ - First of all, there is no need to add season at the end of monsoon because the monsoon is a season. Monsoon affects the west and southwest states because the pattern of the weather changes as noted below.


Areas of the United States Most Affected by Monsoon

Here are just some of the areas that are most affected by the monsoon. Areas such as the southern California high desert, southern Nevada including Las Vegas, all of Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, southern Utah, and Colorado.

How Long Is The Monsoon In Arizona?

Monsoon officially starts on June 15th and ends on September 30th. However, most of the rain comes from the middle of July through the middle of August.  This is one of the reasons that the temps in Sedona are less harsh during July and August.  The average rainfall in the state of Arizona is around 12.5 inches.  The Sedona area gets more than the average rainfall. We have had as much as 26 inches (2016) and as low as 13.66 inches (2014). We had our lowest total ever of rain and snow in 2020.  Only a trace of snow and 8.15 inches of rain. We are in an exceptional drought currently. 

Typically, the monsoon becomes active around the first week of July in Northern AZ and mid-July in Central and Southern AZ. But we have had storms earlier over the years. Interestingly enough, storms started to "brew" on June 15th this year.  Some areas in the state did receive rain...just not Sedona. Though thunder clouds were all around us. 

Select for detailed weather information. 


Historically, June Rainfall is Lowest of the Year

Throughout Arizona, June, without fail, has less rain than any other month with very few exceptions. The Cottages At Coffeepot weather station in Soldiers Pass Sedona has experienced only 1.4 inches of rain total in 11 years!  So far this year, we have .01 inches of rain.  For those who don't want to deal with rain. This is the best month of the year to visit. But it usually is the hottest overall month because there is very little rain or cloud cover. 

Currently, Sedona like all of Arizona is in a heat spell.  We have had 12 days over 100º and our second warmest temp at 112.3º ever.  In contrast, the Phoenix area has experienced more days at 115º+ weather in a row than any other year on record.  

What Creates Monsoon Conditions?

Weather enthusiasts and forecasters look to the dew point to tell if monsoon conditions exist. The dew point must be about 55º for thunderheads to start development. The dew point indicates how much moisture is in the air. At this point, the air cannot hold water in gas form and the gas will then turn to liquid form creating water droplets. The water droplets create fog or precipitation. It was only a few years ago that it was officially declared a calendar season for monsoon. Prior to that, the season would be declared when there were three days at a dew point of 55º.

How Does Monsoon Happen?

It seems that Southern Arizona, the White Mountains, and the Phoenix metropolitan area known as "The Valley" get the brunt of the monsoon effects. It is amazing to see the haboob (desert wind storms)monsoon - Sedona real estate kick up and tower thousands of feet in the air moving through the valley. Those storms are the pre-cursor to the rain and massive storm cells that develop from the moisture in the warm air coming off the Gulf of Mexico. Generally, massive amounts of rain falling create downdrafts that push the air out from the center of the storm which produces a dry wind that kicks up the dust and dirt.





Seasonal Weather Patterns monsoon Arizona Sedona real estate


During summer, weather patterns change.  Storms that travel from the Arctic  (Alaska) down through Canada and the lower 48 states, create our winter storm pattern. In the summer, the pattern shifts to the south. Hurricanes, storms, and moisture travel northwest from the Gulf of Mexico through Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona moving all the way to California. We also get moisture coming from the Gulf of California traveling directly north. Lots of moisture and an occasional hurricane come up from the coast of Baja California and push northeast into Arizona. We may see some precipitation but no other effects. Hurricanes break up as they enter Mexico.

El Niño - Southern Oscillation

In 2020 moving into 2021, we were experiencing "La Niña" periodic variation. However, we have moved into a "Neutral" variation. This means more precipitation.  Yeah! 

The link to Southern Oscillation above explains the weather variation of La Niña and El Niño much more precisely than I can. I only bring this up because there are effects on the monsoon.  This link explains what is happening right now.  In a nutshell, the jet stream is shifting allowing more moisture into the southern states. 

Suffice it to say, that El Niño creates more precipitation than normal "neutral" conditions of any other year. There is a temperature change in the eastern Pacific Ocean tropic and sub-tropic areas.  El Niño is warming and La Niña is cooling the ocean surface.  

2016 - Record Rain Totals

In 2016, the monsoon had 9.65 inches of rain recorded on my station. When you couple that with over 7 inches of rain and 7.5 inches of snow, we had a year-end total of 25.92 inches of precipitation.

So Far In 2021...

The first 5 months in 2021 had 5.21 inches of rainfall AND 8.25 inches of snow. Most of that snow came in March along with 1.98 inches of rain!  

Since 2010, our backyard weather station has recorded an average of 5.8 inches of rain in July and August combined. Looking forward to the monsoon, We want rain and the temperature drop. The cloud formations are also amazing to see.  We have not been able to get any really amazing thunderstorm images during the last 2 years because the monsoon was a NONsoon!


Monsoon Can Be A Destructive Force - Make Preparations 

One quick note - Because it is our rainy season and there is a chance of lightning, and extremely high wind conditions during a thunderstorm or microburst, preparation is very important.  Take some time to have things ready to go:

  • Know where the flashlights and candles are for easy access.
  • Keep your cell phone charged
  • Clean out gutters - drains - culverts - rain ditches and any other natural path water may take during a sudden downpour or microburst.
  • You should have sandbags prepared to divert rain that may cause flash floods.  
  • Thin trees close to your home. Many trees fall during high wind conditions.


How Monsoon Affects Arizona by Region 


Northern Arizona

Up in Northern Arizona, we get a lot of cloud cover and the storms move through but usually don't drop a lot of rain here in Sedona. Though in Flagstaff it is quite a different story! The area of Sedona seems to be protected. By that, I mean that most of the rain falls elsewhere before it gets to our little city. But when we do get rain and storm cells, it is a big deal around here.

Flash flooding can happen because many of the streets are sloped leading up to the red rocks. There has been much improvement made in our drainage system to be able to handle the additional water flow but during an intense storm there is no place for the water to go and mud and rocks can travel across roads to find the path of least resistance. Do not travel through a road where water is more than 4 inches deep.  In fact, any small amount of water can move a vehicle.  It can be swept away easily.


Central and Southern Arizona

In Southern and Central Arizona - 2014 will be remembered as the "Monsoon of the Century". All future monsoon activity will be measured in terms of 2014. There were 3 major hurricanes that affected the weather in the southern half of the state. This caused a deluge and many towns and neighborhoods suffered tremendous flooding damage due to flash floods, hurricane-type wind, compromised canals, and water that had nowhere to go. Many long-time residents had never seen a deluge like we had that year. Sky Harbor Airport had a record rainfall of 1.59 inches and has exceeded the all-time record set back in 1903.

Discover more about Sedona Weather 

Some of the most incredible pictures are taken during Monsoon

Monsoon Thunderstorm - Sedona nomes for sale

Thunderheads Surround Sedona

89A - West Sedona AZ - looking south


Coffeepot Rock during Monsoon in Soldiers Pass Sedona

Sunset During Monsoon - Coffeepot Rock in Soldiers Pass

monsoon - West Sedona homes for sale


Massive Thunderstorm at Sunset creates Fire In the Sky Over West Sedona


North View - Century Plant in Bloom


Cathedral Rock at Monsoon Sunset


Monsoon 2018

Looking Toward Flagstaff From End of Soldiers Pass during Monsoon Late July 2018


Lighting captured in Soldiers Pass Sedona AZ

Above - Lighting Captured Above Sphinx Soldiers Pass - Photo from Backyard

Video Below - Rare Monsoon Sunset Rainbow

It was taken just a couple of minutes before the sky went on fire!


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Comments (30)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Raymond Henson, eXp Realty - This might be the year that you see some rain. When visiting Phoenix, what I haven't seen is a dust storm (haboob).  It is not something I want to see or experience!

Jun 23, 2021 08:31 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Joan Cox - I am down in Scottsdale and it is sprinkling right now and completely overcast.  Probably won't even hit 100º today after 109º yesterday. 

Jun 23, 2021 08:45 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Ron and Alexandra Seigel - That image was a rare time that I had to pull over to get the shot.  I pass by this area alot and think of that shot.  I haven't seen anything like it since.

Jun 23, 2021 08:49 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat - When the red rocks get wet, they go from a clay color to a dark crimson color.  It is gorgeous.  I have seen waterfalls off the rocks as well but as soon as the rain stops they disappear.  Thank you so much for the feature!

Jun 23, 2021 08:56 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi James Dray - I hope you get that opportunity!

Jun 23, 2021 08:56 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kathy Streib - Thank you!  My husband is the weather guy, when he was learning to fly he had to study it, so he gives a the info.  I found a lot of my clients ask about monsoon and all the other seasons so that is why I do the blogs.  People who do not live in AZ do not realize the difference in the weather and climate of the different areas. 

Jun 23, 2021 09:04 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Brian England - No real monsoon the last 2 years!  We will keep out fingers crossed.  

Jun 23, 2021 09:06 AM
Brian England

Getting a little rain here today, it is nice!

Jun 23, 2021 09:55 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


What a fascinating read...with some exceptional photos...about monsoon. I remember the first time I heard about this when I moved to California and I had no clue - I just thought it was a storm!

Hope you get some rain!


Jun 23, 2021 04:25 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS - I just got back from Scottsdale.  We got a nice rain down there and it drizzled all day.  Unfortunately, it was supposed to be a pool day.  But we turned it into a day of shopping.  I was fine with that scenario! HaHa!

Jun 25, 2021 09:50 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Jun 26, 2021 05:46 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Sheri - I always remember the sunny days visiting Phoenix and the dryness.  But in July I was there when a monson came through.  I was in my hotel and the next day there were branches all over.  The coverage of the tv was stay inside and don't drive through underpasses. Each area has unique weather like the hurricanes in the southeast  and the tornados in Oklahoma.

Jun 27, 2021 05:31 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Sheri. Felt like a monsoon last evening here in downtown Chicago. But we could not compete with your lovely photographs. Enjoy your day.

Jun 27, 2021 06:11 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kathy Streib - Thank you once again for the feature.  I am honored.

Jun 27, 2021 01:43 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Grant Schneider - When a micro-burst comes through, you don't know what to expect.  I always worry about large hail.  But that is pretty rare in our area as well. 

Jun 27, 2021 01:45 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Wayne Martin - I heard that a big storm came through. I hope everyone is ok?

Jun 27, 2021 01:46 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Sheri, loved your post and the explanation of Monsoon not Monsoon Season:) now with that said your pictures are just amazing, Endre

Jun 27, 2021 09:20 PM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, these are amazing pictures. We certainly have our share of severe weather patterns in FL. You always do a great job explaining what a monsoon is. Have a wonderful week!

Jun 28, 2021 07:49 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

A science and history lesson on the monsoons that affect your area but the best are the photos/

Jun 28, 2021 12:59 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great to read all about our monsoon season in Arizona.   You guys have captured some amazing photography ;) 


I wish we would get as much rain as you do up north!  So far this year in Scottsdale we've received 1.1" of rain!  We are so far behind that it's hard to keep things alive!  Next year they'll be passing another drought contingency plan, even though they just passed one last year.  GREAT POST!

Jun 29, 2021 05:39 PM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Absolutely stunning photos Sheri Sperry - MCNE®.  Thank you for sharing them and thank you for the information on monsoons.  I have lived in the desert by Las Vegas for only 3 years.  I experienced monsoons the first summer but no monsoons for the next two years.  We finally had a good rain storm the other day and it was badly needed.

Jul 01, 2021 09:25 AM