West Coast Rain US can be heavy during the summer and especially for the desert Southwest. The reason is the annual North American Monsoon season which mainly impacts the desert Southwest of the United States and the Sonoran region of Northern Mexico. The damage is caused from the severe thunderstorms and strong winds that occur during this Monsoon Season.
Flash floods are the largest threat during the summer. Rainfall of 1-2″ per hour are possible, especially in the higher elevations. Dry washes and streambeds can be affected in a very short period of time, often without warning. It does not even need to be raining above these locations. Storms many miles away can produce surface run off that moves downhill with considerable velocity.
Extensive property damage has been reported near The Greater Phoenix Area. Maricopa County reported more than $225 million in property damage associated with monsoon thunderstorms for the period of 1996 through 1999. Also cloud to ground lightning and strong winds can bring extensive power outages to big urban areas.
These intense rain and thundershowers from the North American Monsoon also causes extensive damage for New Mexico . Furthermore this moisture usually moves north into the Sierra Mountains and brings heavy thundershowers at times.
Monsoons are a part of the natural cycle of the planet and bring much needed moisture to arid lands. Desert plants have evolved to this rhythm. It nourishes the soil and native species.
Disruptions, especially the growth of large cities, raise the specter of great damage to human life and property. Building codes and restrictions are in place to minimize this but the simple, common sense action of not driving through standing or moving water can prevent many tragedies and loss of life. It’s important to realize that 6-12″ of flowing water can knock a walking person from their feet. 1-2 feet of water will lift most any vehicle and carry it away.
Written by Robert Morthorst