Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards declared a state of emergency Monday after more than two inches of rain fell, causing homes and businesses to flood. The state will continue to experience uncertain weather, including bursts of rain, through the weekend.
According to Dr. John Meyer, a research climatologist for the Utah climate center at Utah State University, Utah is experiencing a version of monsoonal weather.
"Last year, we had what we've called the non-soon. We didn't really have a monsoon season at all," Meyer said. "And that really exacerbated the drought that had just been really shifting gears, to more aggressive levels of drought. And then we didn't have any rainfall at all last summer that really pushed. The drought into high gear."
Unlike Asia where monsoonal rains are more consistent, monsoon season in the Western United States is complicated, Meyer said. He added that unlike last year, this year the state will have episodes of unpredictable monsoon weather that will bring moisture.
"And it's not going to break us out of the drought," Meyer said. "But it is going to mean that we have a little bit of carry over into the fall and winter seasons, when we do get the majority of our water resources." Flooding in Southern and Central Utah could continue as thunderstorms dropped several inches of rain in a short amount of time and Meyer said these conditions can be dangerous. "Keeping your finger on the pulse of the weather forecast is really important," he said. "Especially if you're in parts of the desert Southwest that are exposed to flash flooding concerns. It's a place that normally gets flash floods, but can be exacerbated during drought conditions."
Dr. John Meyer is a research climatologist for the Utah climate center at Utah State University and says Utah is experiencing a version of monsoonal weather.