Sunday, July 10, 2011

Desert Monsoon

What is a "monsoon?" The term "monsoon" comes from the Arabic word "mausim" meaning "season" or "wind shift." I have never lived anywhere that even used the word, "monsoon" in everyday conversation. Now, calling Arizona home, I have learned that the monsoon season here officially starts June 15th and ends September 30th. During this time, there are strong winds, dust storms, thunderstorms, and higher chances of tornadoes. With high volumes of downpour, the streets often flood. Most areas here are not designed to drain water quickly since rain is too rare to justify the extra costs of constructing an elaborate drainage system. Thus, there are road signs "Do Not Enter When Flooded" to warn motorists. Arizona has a "Stupid Motorists Law" making drivers responsible for the costs and damage caused if they drive into flooded areas. My husband and I stayed off the roads last night and enjoyed a quiet but electrifying show off in the distance. Below are some snapshots from the backyard taken by my husband.



Per the National Geographic News, lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States. Most people do not realize that they can be struck by lightning even when the center of a thunderstorm is 10 miles (16 kilometers) away and there are blue skies overhead. The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000Lightning detection systems in the United States monitor an average of 25 million strokes of lightning from clouds to ground during some 100,000 thunderstorms every year. It is estimated that Earth as a whole is struck by an average of more than a hundred lightning bolts every second.

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