Monsoon rains beging to make an appearance in town around July 4. They mark the beginning of the second part of the summer known as the wet summer, bringing a dramatic chance of pace to the desert, says Jesus Garcia, education specialist at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

The Sonoran desert has two rainy seasons: one in the winter and one in the summer. Winter rains tend to be slow and steady, while summer rains bring thunderstorms and flash floods, Garcia says.

But, despite the floods and dust storms, the beginning of the monsoon is widely celebrated in the Old Pueblo. The Tohono O'odham even consider the month of July the beginning of their new year, says Garcia.