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Summertime is Monsoon season in Arizona. Massive, sometimes violent, thunderstorms build in the deserts around Phoenix and race toward the city. Often, the buildup of theses storms come in the form of Haboobs…giant walls of dust that swallow the city and make driving treacherous and breathing difficult.

The normal pattern used to be that we’d see storms every other night in some part of the Valley. Now, it has become much less predictable. We live in the far northwest corner of the Valley of the Sun. Storms tend to move around the invisible heat bubble that is central Phoenix, and our chances of rain in Surprise are much lower than those in Gilbert or Tempe.

Typically, though, the storms are born southeast of the Valley and carried northwest, hitting the areas exactly opposite of where we live. This year has been especially frustrating, in that we seems to be in some sort of bubble. Night after night, various parts of town get inundated with rain. Night after night, we get nothing.

Last week, thunder and lightening shook the house, and the wind howled. It was late, but my mother messaged me on Facebook to say that it was pouring at her house. A look at my Weather Channel app showed that a huge thunderstorm cell was over her house, moving west and headed straight for us. I turned off all of the lights, opened the blinds on the Arcadia door in our bedroom, and excitedly snuggled into bed to watch the storm.

Minutes ticked by. An hour passed. I pulled out the weather app and would you believe it? The cell had split in half and passed by on either side of us. We didn’t get one drop of rain!

Last night, as we headed out to have Dinner/Game night with our cousins, a set of storms brewed to the north of us. This was unusual, as it was from the opposite direction from the norm. My mother called, her voice hard to hear over the torrential rain coming down at her house. I said that things looked promising, and as we drove the couple of miles to dinner, I took the photo above. The skies were ominous and we could see the clouds moving. The wind shook the car. At that moment, we were getting some sprinkles, and we eagerly anticipated a storm.

Once again, the clouds boiled up around us, dropped a few desultory drops on us…then nothing.

Rain is precious here in the desert, and we eagerly assess the weather reports each day with the chances for rain. 50%, 40%, even 30% chance of rain, and we’re excitedly scanning the skies. Our televisions and phone apps are tuned to the Weather Channel, and we sniff the breeze for that delicious smell of rain.

This year in Surprise, we keep missing out.

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This year, as in the past couple of years, I’m participating in Susannah Conway’s “The August Break.” It’s an opportunity to just be present, look around your world, take photos, and post them to your blog. There are no rules, other than to use this as an opportunity to recharge your batteries a bit.

If you’d like to participate, join in…there are some amazing friends out here, just waiting to meet you.

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