Why Phoenix records its rainfall from Sky Harbor Airport

As we wait and watch for monsoon 2023 to really get going, people around the world may be getting a very dry opinion of Phoenix.

That's because officially, the city of Phoenix rain gauge at Sky Harbor Airport says we've had no rain for more than five months.

It has people who've been getting rain in and around Phoenix wondering, what's going on here?

Phoenix's official weather reporting site, Automated Surface Observing Systems, or ASOS, is located on Sky Harbor Airport grounds. 

The National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration all rely on it, but what many are focused on this monsoon is the rain gauge.

It's filled to the brim … with zeros.

"We continue to be in the second-longest dry streak on record, which is 146 days," Meterorolist Gabriel Lojero with NWS Phoenix said.

The rain gauge is part of an extensive weather monitoring system located near one of Sky Harbor's runways. It hasn’t received any rain, though many other parts of the Valley have.

Why put the monitors here? 

"Usually those are very important for aviation purposes because those give the surface observations across the airport. It gives the weather, the winds as well, and the visibility, which is important for pilots," Lojero said.

No one lives at the Sky Harbor Airport, but Judith Kay lives about a mile away.

"This pocket here stays dry," she said. "I have no clue."

Tuesday night, a rare and wonderful rainstorm moved through her neighborhood north of the airport.

"It was great. But, it didn't last but five minutes at the most," she said.

The dry streak (at least officially) in Phoenix came to an end on Aug. 17, however, with National Weather Service officials announcing that Sky Harbor received 0.01in of rainfall.