In Phoenix, for at least the last 30 years, any chance of rain under 75% has meant almost no chance of rain. Sometimes the rain comes, and the drizzle with sizzle and dissipate the moment it hits the group. On other rare days, like today, the heaven open up and drown the desert in life-giving energy.
This morning, I woke up to the sound of sheeting rain, rushing winds, groaning thunder in the distance, and booming bolt up above. After a lifetime in the desert, these are my favorite sounds–the sounds of sustenance.
Last year, Phoenix saw no rain. Well, we had one day in which there was a 3-minute drizzle-and-sizzle, but I don’t think that counts. According to the National Weather Service, the average value for rainfall across the Valley during the rainy Monsoon season was 0.46 inches, more than two inches short of average.Weather forecasters went as far as to call it the Nonsoon.
The year of extremes dried centuries old pines to their cores, creating an army of eerie skeletons across valley parks. Saguaro cacti dried up, revealing their spindly wooden before toppling over onto roofs, cars, and roadways. As a lifelong resident of the valley who has dreaming of leaving this desolate place for just as long, I was devastated. I was worried it might be a permanent phenomenon, as many storms would approach the sprawling metropolis and then falls apart as they reached the outer edge of our concrete jungle.
This morning, I was proven wrong. And I am overjoyed. After a two-year absence, the monsoon has returned and the plants, animals, and long-time locals couldn’t be happier.