How to survive a hike when caught in a Monsoon storm

The dangers of desert hikes in the Summer are obvious, which is why many head for the mountains.

But the Monsoon poses its own threat in the higher elevations. What’s a hiker to do when caught in a thunderstorm? Here are some tips to help keep you safe when “Hittin’ the Trails”:

– Start hikes to high peaks early in the morning. The later it gets in the day, the bigger the threat for lightning strikes on mountains. It’s best to be heading back to the trailhead by mid-day or early afternoon.

– If a storm develops with lightning, it’s best to run into a forest of trees to seek shelter. Lightning tends to hit the tallest object available, so don’t shelter under an isolated tree.

Courtesy: Bryan Pierson
Courtesy: Bryan Pierson

– Caught out in the open? Drop any metal objects, crouch with your feet together and keep your head low. Do not lie down flat! The more contact you make with the ground, the greater the area for lightning to potentially strike. Think small.

– Never hike without bringing along a NOAA weather radio or the News 4 Tucson Weather & Traffic app. These tools can alert you to approaching severe weather so you can take appropriate action.


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