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Thunderstorms on the Move in the Southwestern U.S.

4 weeks ago

The annual monsoon season in the Desert Southwest is showing signs of life this week, threatening to bring daily rain showers and thunderstorms to the region. Here is what you need to know about the risks presented with this weather pattern in the coming days.

North American Monsoon Season Firing Up

Is monsoonal moisture on the way? While the North American monsoon season will begin to make its presence known this week, it will still remain largely disorganized until later in the summer. The monsoon season is distinguished by a shift in the wind patterns over the Southwest that bring up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical Pacific Ocean into the Southwest. A large part of the southwestern U.S. counts on this influx of moisture to replenish the water stores during the summer months. More specifically, the monsoon season accounts for up to half of the annual rainfall each year for this corner of the country.

While the moisture is certainly good news for the arid landscape, it also comes with a set of risks that people need to be aware of. Because the monsoon storms typically erupt in the late afternoon hours, it is important to get outside for recreational activities such as hiking early in the day. The frequent lightning strikes created by the monsoon poses dangers to hikers and other people spending time outside.

These storm cells are also known to deliver strong winds and small hail. All of these potential impacts could put a damper on summer vacation plans at some of the country's most popular tourist destinations.


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