Looks like a VERY early start to the 2015 monsoon season

The unusually wet late-spring weather pattern of 2015 continues, as the remnants of Hurricane Andres are winding down with a few final showers in the northern and eastern parts of the state today and perhaps tomorrow.

Last year’s big burn sites, which have been producing plenty of morels this spring, did not get much above half an inch of rain from this round of storms.

However, the Mogollon Rim, Clint’s Well, and Mormon Lake areas did better, with more than 2 inches of rain in some places. Those few of you who are sick and tired of fire morels might take a look at those sites next week for early-season fruiters like Pleurotus pulmonarius, Polyporus squamosus, Flammulina populicola, or Neolentinus ponderosus.

All of this may be a prelude to one of the earliest summer monsoon seasons ever. Hurricane Blanca is now a Category 4 storm threatening Baja California, and as it hits land and dissipates, the currently predicted storm track takes its remnants directly over Arizona.

Blanca-track

Multiple days of thunderstorms and perfect temperatures for morel growth are predicted. Some areas of the state may see more than 4 inches of rain by Wednesday 10 June, with storms continuing throughout the weekend of 13-14 June. Take a look at today’s forecast for the coming week at Greer:

early monsoon forecast

(The Weather Channel)

Moreover, it appears that a third tropical storm may now be forming in the Northeast Pacific off the west coast of Mexico. It seems practically certain that the next few weeks are going to be good for mushroom collectors. I’m beginning to wonder if we are going to be collecting boletes and chanterelles before the beginning of July!

blanca

Let us hope that this atypical weather pattern continues through the summer, and does not poop out during our usual monsoon season in July and August. The best long term predictions suggest we are in good shape for the whole season:

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The Arizona Mushroom Club chose not to call a group morel foray for this weekend, which in retrospect seems wise. I am hearing that although there are still some morels to be found, the flush from the most recent storms of late May has been pretty thoroughly picked over by now, and many of those that are left are getting old and tired.

Given this encouraging weather forecast, however, the prospects for a club foray the following weekend (13-14 June) seem pretty good. We will likely hear of it by Tuesday or Wednesday next week, if so. Nothing is cast in stone, but you may want to clear your docket for the weekend in anticipation of meeting us up there.

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About Christopher May

Chris is a radiologist in private practice in Scottsdale. He is married to Barbara May, with two grown children, Megan and Nick.
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5 Responses to Looks like a VERY early start to the 2015 monsoon season

  1. Ed Coleman says:

    These late spring rains are certainly unusual and even record-setting (first rain on 6/5 EVER recorded in Phx) … but they are NOT monsoon rains. “Monsoon” is a seasonal wind pattern – often, but not always, bringing rain – and our seasonal winds are from the S and SE. These storms are from the W and SW, more representative of late winter storm patterns. Thank you, El Nino!

  2. Horace Sheffield says:

    yeah…thanks Ed….I wanted to say too that this is not a monsoon pattern….but thankfully the mushrooms do not care from what direction the rains come….the last time this happened I picked 60 lbs of chanterelles the first week of July…but that year led to few other mushrooms in August and little rains…

  3. Christopher May says:

    all right gentlemen, I agree that up to now it has not been a monsoonal pattern, but what about this Blanca storm? The monsoons are merely a shift in the prevailing winds from the westerly pattern of winter and spring to a southerly direction, bringing moisture up from Mexico, and that sure seems to fit this one. Plus we are only a week shy of the “new” definition of the monsoon season, which officially begins on June 15 (but used to be defined by dew-point criteria and varied from year to year.)

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