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Fall Storms in Phoenix, AZ

How do Arizona monsoon thunderstorms form

Closer to the aftermath of monsoon season, Phoenix experiences a range of autumn storms. When precipitation is included in these storms, residential homeowners in the city should not be surprised by instances of water damage. Here’s a look at fall storms in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Valley of the Sun, otherwise known as Phoenix, undergoes tumultuous autumn weather patterns every year. Monsoon season, which begins every June 15 and lasts until September 30, brings with it forceful storms accompanied by massive amounts of damaging rainfall.

Phoenix’s autumnal equinox this year starts on September 22. Locals expect balmy weather reaching temperatures averaging 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving, the triple digit temperatures have the likelihood of dropping to below a cool 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Leaves start turning colors in the treetops lining the Phoenix streets. Nighttime temperatures cool down to a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Given the cooler weather, especially in comparison to summer’s heat, residents break out the fall clothing and roll down their car windows.

The cooler autumn temperatures are a welcome break from the scorching heat of August. But accompanying the start of the fall season are storms. Monsoon season, for instance, doesn’t quite end until autumn has already begun. Rainfall in Phoenix plummets down during monsoon storms.

  1. Monsoons-Phoenix-AZ

    Monsoon rains in Phoenix are typically less than three inches annually

    Monsoon Storms

The word monsoon is derived from the Arabic word mausin; translated, monsoon means “wind shift” or “season”. Monsoons can be described as seasonal wind shifts. Monsoon conditions occur as warm air creates surface low pressure zones; and, these zones draw moisture from the nearby oceans.

Winds in Arizona generally originate from the west. In summer, these winds shift to a southerly direction and bring moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California. The moisture plus the change in wind patterns produce heavy thunderstorm rainfalls.

Monsoon rains in Phoenix are typically less than three inches annually. However, these monsoon rains tend to fall rapidly and suddenly. Considering the swift and sudden nature of monsoon rains, Phoenix area properties are vulnerable to bouts of flash flooding.

  1. Dust Storms

Another storm with a name of Arabic origin is the haboob, or dust storm. Haboob is derived from the Arabic word “habb”, which means “wind”. Dust storms primarily affect the region between May and September. Haboobs, though, can develop any day of the year, including during the autumn months.

In Arizona’s arid, desert regions, powerful wind gusts pick up massive amounts of dust and sand. Large quantities of swirling sand have the potential to create dust walls that can exceed 3000 feet in height. Wind velocities reach a maximum of 30 miles per hour during the average dust storm.

Dust storms are dangerous, given that the phenomenon can reduce visibility to near zero within a matter of seconds. Cars on the road have been known to pile up in multi-vehicle accidents. However, dust storms are usually brief, ranging from a few minutes up to an hour.

  1. Downbursts

A downburst is a vertical, rotating circle of air. Strong downdrafts produce bursts of damaging, outward winds near the surface. Large downbursts, known as macrobursts, span 2.5 miles and feature winds lasting 5 to 20 minutes. Microbursts are less than 2.5 miles in diameter and last 2 to 5 minutes.

Downbursts can be wet or dry. Dry downbursts are more often seen during the drier parts of monsoon season, in June and July. Wet downbursts, on the other hand, prevail during the wettest parts of monsoon season in July and August and continue into the fall month of September.

  1. Dust Devils

Extreme surface heating creates vortexes of dust-filled air, known to Arizonians as dust devils. The diameter of a dust devil can range exponentially, from a mere 10 feet in diameter to over 100 feet. The height averages between 500 and 1000 feet; but dust devils can reach thousands of feet.

  1. Tornadoes-Phoenix-AZ

    Phoenix residents who encounter a tornado should never attempt to outrun it.


Phoenix weather systems possess all the features necessary to create tornadoes. Despite having unstable air masses and wind shear, tornadoes are rare in Phoenix. Yet, tornadoes have struck down here in the past and can touch down again in the future. In fact, Phoenix had 7 tornadoes in 2019.

Similar to tornadoes are cold air funnels. Arizonians do see cold air funnels, which are vortexes of spinning air. When these funnel clouds touch down to the ground, they become a tornado. Any funnel cloud has the likelihood of becoming a tornado and should prompt a precautionary response.

Phoenix residents who encounter a tornado should never attempt to outrun it. While some tornadoes remain stationary, others can move at rapid speeds reaching 50 miles per hour. In the fall months especially, tornado wind speeds are known to reach or exceed 50 miles per hour.

Phoenix is no stranger to storms of all types during the fall months. Area storms that carry precipitation can cause water damage to properties. Residents whose homes or businesses undergo water damage are advised to consult ServiceMaster All Care Restoration for speedy water damage restoration.

Water damage is an emergency situation that should be promptly addressed. Delaying water damage cleanup can lead to the absorption of moisture into porous materials, like wood, drywall, and furniture, and subsequent damage. Technicians from ServiceMaster All Care Restoration halt the spread of damage quickly.

In the event high winds damage the siding or roof of your home or business, ServiceMaster All Care Restoration specialists are available to perform high-quality reconstruction services. Our crews of handymen, contractors, and carpenters perform immediate structural repairs and remodeling.

A Phoenix storm can create havoc, whether it is water damage or structural damage. When your property is affected by either, consult the experts at ServiceMaster All Care Restoration. We are your one-stop resource for water damage cleanup and commercial or residential reconstruction.

Our comprehensive restoration services meet the needs of property owners in Phoenix, Arizona, and surrounding Maricopa, Pima and Santa Cruz counties. ServiceMaster All Care Restoration technicians stand by 24/7 all year long to respond to emergencies. Call us for dependable restoration services.