Not my cup of tea but maybe an interesting diversion. …
Weather records are not very convincing past the 1990's and not very good past the 2000's. This is because the agencies posting them these days can use satellite data which lends itself well to posting as graphic files.
Collections of records before then and most receiving stations data since, is stored as grib files. Codes for stations, temperatures, pressures, visibility even cloud cover in the good old days, were all given numbers in a grid.
I suppose you ust got used to reading them the way you'd read a temperature gauge or a barometer. Or a good book. It produced its own inner picture.
Anyhow, here is some local colour for people in the lea of Pacific storms. Most of the Low pressure hitting the USA hits some of the highest mountains in the world. And at California they are fat and wide and mostly unbroken.
So all the clouds hitting them go high and wide changing into dry and cold air as it does. From Low pressure comes high pressure. The cold air falls down the slope when it gets to Arizona and Nevada and warms up as the pressure increase. They turn into desiccating breezes.
Originally posted by The Flood Control District of Maricopa County:
A major winter storm system, the strongest in more than a decade, brings heavy precipitation to the county. Much of the region receives 1 to 3.5 inches of total rainfall, with up to 5 inches recorded by District gages in the north-western and northern portions of the county.
Cave Buttes Dam has stormwater more than 60 feet deep in the impoundment pool behind the dam, the highest level since 1993. A state of emergency is declared in the county and state.
The last day of the official 2009 monsoon season brings to a close the fifth driest monsoon in recorded history in the county. In fact, August was the driest in 116 years. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center classifies most of Maricopa County as "moderately dry," one step below "severe drought."
Late-afternoon storm hits Tempe, where more than two inches of rain falls in less than two hours. A five-mile section of the U.S. 60 freeway through Tempe is shut down for three hours due to deep standing water across several lanes and beneath underpasses.
The first major monsoon storm of the season drops more rain in a 12-hour period than during the entire 2007 monsoon season.
A cluster of severe thunderstorms moved across north west Maricopa County causing strong winds and dense blowing dust.
A second cluster of severe thunderstorms moved into east-central parts of the county and converged over the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The highest rainfall totals were in the Wickenburg area (one to three inches), and central Phoenix and northeast Mesa (one to three inches). A total of 0.83 inch was recorded at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Rising water forced the closure of Interstate 17 near downtown Phoenix.
A day-long rainstorm drops up to three inches of rain in the north-eastern mountains. Cave Creek and New River flow rapidly, with 14 feet of water held behind Cave Buttes Dam and 23 feet in the impoundment area behind New River Dam. A dozen roads in Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale are temporarily impassable due to flooded wash crossings.
July 31-Aug. 1:
Up to three inches of rain falls in parts of the northern Phoenix metropolitan area. Various east-west roads in North Scottsdale are closed due to flooded washes and mud flows. The impoundment pond behind Cave Buttes Dam holds floodwater more than 20 feet deep.
Approximately two inches of rain falls in parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area, especially in the northern portion where a mud slide closes a road in Cave Creek.
The washes in the Gila Bend area are full due to the torrential rains in the area.
A late start of the monsoon brings heavy rain to the County. Sheet flooding in Queen Creek turns dirt roads to mud and causes a 1/4-mile-long, 12-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep fissure in the ground through a rural neighborhood.
Roads through Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale are closed due to rainstorm run-off in the wash.
A rainstorm drops two inches of rain in parts of the north-eastern Phoenix and north Scottsdale. Both bridged and unbridged crossings on Indian Bend Wash are closed.
Some streets in northern Tempe are flooded, and the right-hand lanes of both eastbound and westbound U.S. 60 at Rural Road are closed due to heavy rain.
Heavy rains create a sink-hole adjacent to an apartment building in Tempe, forcing residents to evacuate the community.
Sept. 3: Very heavy rainfall across the far northern portion of the Phoenix metropolitan area results in rapid runoff and flooding. The Seven Springs stream gage indicates a sudden jump of the water level, from zero to 8.5 feet, in only 20 minutes.
The Camp Creek ALERT system gauge records a total of 3.11 inches of rain, with 2.01 inches in one hour. Bartlett Road is washed out and impassable, the heaviest rain storm is reported at the East Fork of Cave Creek at 7th Avenue, with flooding of many streets in north Phoenix.
Flooding is reported on State Route 85.
Heavy rains from widespread thunderstorms cause flash flood waters to over-flow washes from New River east to the Seven Springs area and Camp Creek. Rain gauge networks indicate that up to 4.5 inches of rain falls during the late afternoon and early evening.
Heavy rains during the afternoon flood highways and roads in Queen Creek, while in Tonopah many roads are closed in the area due to rapid flooding.
One of the heaviest rainfall events of the 2005 season strikes the Phoenix area, where almost three inches of rain falls in many locations in the metropolitan area, causing roofs to collapse and streets to flood quickly.
Very heavy rainfall, about two inches per hour, causes the flooding of low spots and washes in Wickenburg, where the peak flow in Hartman Wash is 1,200 cubic feet per second.
In Sun City, the occupants of a stranded vehicle in a flash flood are rescued at 128th Avenue and Galaxy Drive.
The governor declares a state of emergency in various counties due to 2005 winter storms and flooding. The declaration for Maricopa County only includes the town of Wickenburg.
Rains associated with a mid-winter storm system move slowly across central and southern Arizona. Rainfall intensity increases significantly during the evening of Feb. 11, and Flood Control District ALERT rain gages begin to report excessive rainfall exceeding 1.5 inches per hour during the early morning hours of Feb. 12.
Rural roads in northern and north-eastern Maricopa County become flooded by washes running heavy with the rain runoff. The Hassayampa River erodes its banks near Wickenburg. Rock and mud slides along U.S. Highway 60 from Superior to Globe are reported by the afternoon of Feb. 12.
This storm system is the final significant 2004-2005 winter event in a season of very heavy rainfall. The Carefree-Cave Creek area reports a three-month total of 13.66 inches.
Heavy rains fall across a large portion of southern and central Arizona.
Aug. 15: Flash flooding is reported south of U.S. Highway 60 on Vulture Mine Road near Wickenburg. Three to four inches of rain fall in one hour.
Storm totals are up to 1.30 inches at Skunk Creek near New River and 2.24 inches at Pinnacle Peak in north Scottsdale.
Sept. 4: Near Wickenburg, Sols Wash grows to about 150 feet wide, Flying E Wash is full and Vulture Mine Road is closed due to flooding. Flash flooding occurs at the entrance to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park near the intersection of Olive Avenue and Citrus Road in the western part of the Phoenix area.
Locally heavy rainfall affects a large part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The heaviest rain falls north of Sun City where one gage records approximately four inches. More than two inches falls at Antelope Creek near Wickenburg.
At least 15 homes are flooded in Tolleson.
A flash flood in Sols Wash sweeps a vehicle downstream from Vulture Mine Road.
Thunderstorms with heavy rainfall of up to one inch per hour cause flash flooding of washes and streets in Wickenburg.
Heavy rain over much of south-central Arizona leaves washes running and streets flooded or closed. More than two inches of rain falls in Wickenburg and two inches is recorded over much of the Phoenix area.
The second major storm in a week causes considerable flooding in both rural and urban areas. A trailer park in Aguila and another in Buckeye are evacuated, while homes in Peoria, Youngtown, Surprise and surrounding areas are flooded. One unofficial rain gage 15 miles east of Aguila registers 8.79 inches for the month and another gage in Aguila records 5.05 inches. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declares a flood emergency for Maricopa County.
State Route 93 is closed north of Wickenburg due to high water. Sols Wash overflows and floods Coffinger Park as well as nearby homes. Vulture Mine Road is closed and trapped motorists are rescued. Floodwaters produce considerable damage to agriculture in northwestern Maricopa County.
Oct. 10: A strong storm system moves through the Phoenix area producing very heavy rainfall, resulting in street flooding and road closures. The Phoenix Fire Department responds to four swift-water rescues. Flooding is reported around Indian Bend Wash.
Very heavy rainfall, with estimated rates of an inch per hour, moves slowly across the County. Sols Wash in Wickenburg is flooded as well as other streams and washes in the northern part of the County.
One inch of rain falls in 15 minutes, causing a flash flood that fills washes near New River.
About 2.5 inches of rain falls in just 90 minutes.
A series of storm systems move through Arizona during the three-day period, dropping as much as 3.5 inches of rain across north-central Maricopa County. Sky Harbor Airport records 2.77 inches and many areas of the city have more than two inches.
That's plenty for now. Concentrating on a small location like this makes it possible to eliminate variable to a fluid system that can not be catered for on a large scale.
For example nationwide in a country as large as the USA, there is always a flood some place while elsewhere, at the same, time a drought.
Now to see if I can find the weather records fore the area. What I want are synoptic charts for the USA generally. The axiom: Someone's flood is someone's drought may be a problem when dealing with causes locally but to look at the weather budget you need to see what the cause is doing overall.
In such cases the USA may not be a large enough area but it is probably the best anyone can hope for.