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Monsoons Amplify Thunderstorm Danger

Carolina Ödman via Flickr

Weather related deaths are down because more people know how to be safe. It’s Monsoon Safety Awareness Week and the National Weather Service wants you to know how to avoid the dangers of these seasonal storms.  

In New Mexico four people died in flash floods since 2013, and just last year lightning killed one person.

Kerry Jones, with the National Weather Service, said it’s risky to be in the wilderness during storms. He said flash flooding and lightning are the greatest dangers.

When thunder starts rumbling, Jones said, “that’s the time to start taking immediate action. Don’t wait for another minute or two thinking, well, I’m in a safe range, because that’s absolutely not the case.”

Turn back and get to shelter, even in your car. If you cannot get to shelter, Jones said, crouching on the balls of your feet with your ears covered is the safest position when there’s lightning. Better yet, go out early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. 

A warm, dry forecast this week is a signal that weather patterns are shifting and monsoons could be coming within weeks. 

Kaveh Mowahed is a reporter with KUNM who follows government, public health and housing. Send story ideas to kaveh@kunm.org.