Alex Lopez, center, plays baseball with his sister Sugey while smoke generated by the Las Conchas fire covers the sky in Espanola, N.M., Wednesday, June 29, 2011. As crews fight to keep the wildfire from reaching the country's premier nuclear-weapons laboratory and the surrounding community, scientists are busy sampling the air for chemicals and radiological materials. AP Photo / Jae C. Hong

By Joanna Dodder Nellans, The Daily Courier

June tied the record for being the driest June in recorded history for Prescott, since no rain fell all month.

While June traditionally is the driest month of the year, the average precipitation over the past 113 years is 0.39 inches at the official National Weather Service measuring site. This year's precipitation has been below average, too.

But the monsoon is on its way. Monsoon rains already moved north as far as Tucson Thursday, breaking an 81-day dry spell that tied for the fourth-longest dry spell there in 115 years.

Prescott has a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms today with a high temperature hitting 98 degrees; a 10 percent chance of thunderstorms tonight; then a 30 percent chance through Independence Day.

This can be a critical time of wildfire danger, since thunderstorms at the start of monsoon activity can pack a lot of lightning and little or no rain.

Wind gusts could hit 23 mph today, continuing a trend of unusually windy days in June.

The National Weather Service doesn't track wind statistics in Prescott, but NWS officials said northern Arizona registered 16 red-flag days in June, more than twice the number in April and May. Red-flag days mean critical wildfire conditions exist because of high winds and low humidity. […]

June ties record with no rain; numerous fire bans in place



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