Get detailed Tombstone AZ weather: With a forecast -
Weather patterns in Tombstone Arizona are typical of the American Southwestern Deserts. They don't get that much rain! Or even less snow!
The weather in Tombstone is the result of a micro-climate of the Chihuahuan Desert. It is semi-arid = quite dry. The rain patterns are that of the desert. Typical weather systems and rainy seasons occur on a yearly basis.
The Monsoon season is the time when Tombstone AZ weather is dramatic! There are amazing thunderstorms. Rain can come down in a deluge!
Personally I love this time of year! I love watching the thunderstorms from our decks and patios. The lightning provides an amazing light show. The storm itself can be very eye-popping. Wonderful colors form in the clouds. In the daytime a beautiful rainbow often appears.
Other areas near-by Tombstone, such as the Huachuca Mountains and the Chiricahua Mountains, have a different semi-desert biome. They have an environmental characteristic unique to the location. In particular, it's related to elevation.
Consider Tombstone AZ weather when you do your vacation planning. April into June is about the driest time of year. Often little to no rain.
There is a typical winter "rainy" season. Winter storms come in from the Pacific. They can reach Arizona and bring rain. In the highest elevations, like in the Huachuca Mountains, snow falls.
On occasion the snow can even reach the desert floor. Typically January, February & March get the most storms. Take a look at the photo here - just below, compliments of Brian Joe Jones. A memorable and rare occasion, because that was December 5th!
Keep in mind, all this precipitation only totals just over 16 inches in the Tombstone area. That is the Cochise County yearly average!
So... safe to say, not much worry about spoiling any outdoor plans. But enough to generally keep desert plants happy.
Say the word "Monsoon" - and people usually think of Southeast Asia... Torrential rains for days and days at a time. Jungles, flooding, mosquitoes attacking - no sun to be seen, rivers overflowing!
Well... meet Arizona's Monsoon season!
The word in climateese refers to a shift in the wind patterns. Here in Arizona it means the primary prevailing winds no longer come from the West/Northwestern Pacific coast. Now they switch to a more Southerly flow. These upper level winds pick up a lot of tropical moisture. Combine that with summer heat. That makes for fantastic, sky-opening thunderstorms!
They're now saying it begins around mid June. More really (from our own experience - and every other Arizonan we know!) it does start at the very end of June, and traditionally on the Fourth of July. Extending into about the end of September.
But officially, technically... scientifically - there must be a minimum dew point of 55 degrees. Then the Monsoon thunderstorm capability has begun. The Tombstone AZ weather starts the change we're anticipating!
How often will there be a Monsoon Thunderstorm? No way to be sure!
One way of anticipation is to look for high pressure circling the 4 Corner's area when you watch the TV weather report. (Where 4 state borders join together: AZ, UT, CO & NM). That's when prevailing winds pull the tropical moisture up where it needs to be. Then it can happen if other conditions are right!
Watch the clouds build as the air heats up during the day. Usually storms begin toward late afternoon. Sometimes the air really becomes saturated. The storms then can become intermittent all day and evening.
Be aware of the problems you can encounter in monsoon weather. For instance, extraordinary wind gusts can accompany a storm's beginning. Sometimes a dust storm precedes the rain storm.
Flash floods are a danger. Do not EVER go past a barrier that is blocking a flooding wash over a road-way. Even a few feet of water can sweep away a car. People have drowned by disregarding this rule! Don't let that be you. If you're on a trail, and there is an imminent storm, you must stay away from waterways or dry washes. These can fill unexpectedly in minutes - even from rainfall miles away. Always use precautions. People have died.
Take a look at this Tucson Arizona monsoon footage captured on film - quite amazing!
During Monsoon Thunderstorms the lightning strikes come at a fast and furious pace. The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) talks about three basic types of lighting. During these storms you'll witness all three.
The light show types are strikes that go through the clouds across the sky! Spread out like wiring circuitry throughout above you. Then there's the sheet type lightning within the cloud that illuminates the whole cloud at once. These are the majority of lightning strikes... five to ten times more than those that hit the ground according to the NSSL.
Maybe you've heard the one about - don't stand under a tree in a lightning storm.
The NSSL calls a cloud to ground strike a "CG" - and says we don't see it until the charge contacts the ground. It generates a return current to the cloud that makes it visible. It flickers as the charge gets to the cloud in "strokes."
Amazingly, that current seen is only a few inches wide! The brightness makes it look larger, and visible for miles. The charge from the cloud attracts the closest ground charge. Normally something tallest in the area. Like a tall tree, a tall building, a telephone pole, a mountain top, etc.
In the Tucson Desert, it might be a Saguaro cactus. When we lived in Tucson's Sonoran Desert, there was a Monsoon thunderstorm one afternoon. I saw a strike hit the Saguaro in our front yard. That was about 30 yards from our front door! Kinda scary!
The practical advice if a Monsoon storm comes in...
Be Aware! Is the Tombstone AZ weather report predicting Monsoon thunderstorms? Maybe this is a day to plan an indoor activity. At least don't plan to be out in the wilderness! Tombstone AZ weather is not something to disregard. Just use your knowledge of it intelligently.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency has good advice for you on lightning safety. It's good to know precautions ahead of time. You can view or download their Safety Sheet: Get it here>
Whatever the Tombstone AZ weather forecast tells you, it will still be a great day to plan your activities. You just cannot go wrong with a trip to Tombstone AZ!
Or to some other surrounding area, like a nearby Ghost Town. The weather will be quite cooperative when you have a knowledge of it...
You may notice when Monsoon storms are near, you seem to "smell" rain before it begins. That's actually the scent of the creosote bush. It gives off this aroma when it's wet. People begin to associate it with the smell of rain.
Since Monsoon thunderstorms tend to be recurrent throughout the afternoon, you'll see the sun peeking through as well. The ideal circumstances for a rainbow! Well, not just "A" rainbow - but often a double rainbow as well. A beautiful sight! Have your camera ready!
The clouds themselves, various shades of gray, dark blue, black - against the vibrant blue sky peeking through! Shards of sunlight gleaming through slits in the clouds. Rain pouring down over there. Again way over there - then on top of you! It's just a wonderful weather experience.
Even if you can't go for an outdoor adventure that one day. Because the Tombstone AZ weather is forecasting imminent Monsoon thunderstorms. Well, enjoy the experience, maybe from a covered deck, patio or veranda - I know you will! It is an experience!