Monsoon season is upon us

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Dorothy K. Sherwood
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

The 355th Operational Support Squadron’s Weather Flight has been busy with this year’s monsoon season that peaks in July and ends roughly in September.

So far, the weather flight has issued over 196 watches, warnings and advisories for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base since monsoon season started.

 “We have issued around 20 WWAs just this week,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Vannessa Williams, weather forecaster for the 355th Operational Support Squadron’s Weather Flight.

Monsoon season in Arizona is a meteorological event that causes severe weather and starts when the winds shift.

 “The upper-level winds shift to a southeasterly direction and brings in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico causing air mass thunderstorms, flash floods and high winds,” said Williams. “These storms pop up fast and keeps us on our toes for timing.”

Williams starts her workday looking at visible satellite, radar, surface winds and the Global Air Land Weather Exploitation Model (GALWEM) to inform the more than 11,000 total force Airmen and 11 flying units on base of upcoming WWAs.

 “There’s a lot that goes into forecasting,” said Williams. “This is my third monsoon season and timing is everything to inform our pilots and Airmen on base.”

Monsoon thunderstorms affect the 34 unique mission partners using the airfield, gates and roads on Davis-Monthan, and also the families that live on base. 

With their 24/7 mission, the 355th weather forecasters personifies their squadron’s motto, “Guide those who fly,” and take their motto one step further by protecting the more than 46,000 people who work and live on base.