U of A professor: Fewer but more intense monsoon storms this year

Some are thinking that 2017's monsoon storms are possibly more intense, and according to a new study, they may be on to something.

The study, which is led by a professor at the University of Arizona, shows more intense storms this year for Arizona, but fewer storms in general. The recent climate study, which was funded by the Department of Defense, looked at 40 years of data.

The study's co-author, Dr. Christopher Castro, found that there are now fewer monsoon storms in the state, but they are now more intense.

"The storms are stronger, in the amount of rain that's received and the intensity of the rainfall when it comes, and the stronger downburst winds associated with the leading line of the storm when it passes," said Dr. Castro, during a phone interview.

The trend, according to Dr. Castro, is what they would expect with human-induced climate change. He said warm air can potentially hold more water vapor.

"Because air temps have warmed in the U.S. and worldwide, we have observed that the atmosphere is holding more water vapor, particularly during Monsoon," said Dr. Castro.

Doug Masi, who lives in the Estrellas and whose backyard was battered by a Monsoon storm on July 18, said if these intense storm continue, he might have to rethink several things, including landscaping.

"This one hit us hard," said Masi. "It tore all the nice larger trees out of the ground."