Phoenix’s wettest monsoon so far since 2008 brings greenery, bugs, and weeds.
For nearly four months out of the year, Arizona faces torrential downpours of rain that mix with dust and whip through the air at aggressive speeds. Arizonans, of course, are used to the yearly occurrence. But this year’s monsoon, which officially runs from June 15 to Sept. 30, is breaking recent rainfall records.
The National Weather Service in Phoenix said that since the start of the season on June 15, Phoenix has gotten 3.37 inches of rain, which is more than in the same period during the last 13 years. 2008 saw 3.63 inches in the same period.
It’s also already the third-wettest season overall since 2000. 2014 saw 6.34 inches total and 2008’s season ended with 5.7 inches total. With a little over a month left in the season this year, some parts of Arizona are close to breaking all-time records for rain.
As of May 18, more than 57% of the state was in the “Exceptional Drought” category of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Exceptional Drought is the highest level of intensity on that scale. As of Aug. 17, only about 6% of the state remains in that category.
Monsoon rains also have brought dangerous mushrooms, toads
Because this year has been wetter than years past, the rain is bringing some unusual threats to Arizona. Among them are toads, mushrooms, and a whole mess of bugs.
Earlier this month, Banner Health released a warning to protect Arizonans from toxic toads and poisonous mushrooms that are popping up in backyards across the county. Banner’s poison experts say Clorophyllum molybdates, or yard mushrooms, may look friendly and edible, but eating them can cause “vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain within a couple of hours.”
Sonoran Desert toads, or Bufo alvarius, produce a toxin that’s dangerous to humans and pets if inhaled or ingested.
“Leave these toads alone and be sure to keep your dogs away from them,” said Maureen Roland, managing director of the Banner Poison Center.
If you or someone you know has been exposed to any poison, medication, chemical or bite/sting, Banner Health recommends calling the poison center as soon as possible at 800-222-1222.
Thank the rain for all these mosquitoes
Perhaps the most noticeable pests the rain has brought in are the insects. Moths and mosquitoes are coming back in droves, thanks to increased humidity and standing water.
The Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services is setting traps and spraying around neighborhoods to control the mosquito population in “problem” areas.
Not only are mosquitoes annoying to have around and hard to get rid of, but the department works so hard to control the population of adult female mosquitoes because they carry disease. The most common, although still rare, in Maricopa County is the West Nile Virus. This virus can kill and has already affected more than 20 people county-wide this year.