Summer rains could be later but heavier in Southwest US

Forecasters say the summer rains that fall on the Southwestern United States each year are on track to be slightly later but a little heavier than usual.

Brian Klimowski, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Flagstaff, Arizona, said Monday the rains will likely start between July 6 and 9. He says they could be 5 to 10 percent heavier than average in some areas.

A recurring weather pattern called the North American monsoon brings rain from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California into Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Klimowski says the monsoon historically provides between 10 and 50 percent of the region's annual precipitation during July, August and September.

Even an average monsoon would be welcome in the region, which is suffering through a long, severe drought.