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Thu, Aug. 18

Throwing bolts at Grand Canyon: NPS reminds visitors of lightning hazards

Lightning lights up the mesas at Grand Canyon National Park. Park officials are reminding people of the hazards of lightning as the monsoon season sets in at the Canyon. (Photo/NPS/Daniel Pawlak)

Lightning lights up the mesas at Grand Canyon National Park. Park officials are reminding people of the hazards of lightning as the monsoon season sets in at the Canyon. (Photo/NPS/Daniel Pawlak)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Grand Canyon National Park is a remarkable place to be during thunderstorms, but lightning hazards do exist on the exposed mesas and canyons.

When sightseeing or hiking in the park, Grand Canyon officials give these tips to avoid storm hazards:

Be aware of the nearest safe structure or vehicle and how long it will take to reach it; learn where emergency phones are located on the trails.

Listen for thunder, watch for lightning, and observe the direction of storm movement.

If your hair stands on end, a strike is looming, move away from the canyon edge; leave open areas immediately; and avoid rocky outcrops, lone trees, the tallest trees, poles, railings, and bodies of water.

Get to a shelter—a building, vehicle with the windows closed, or shuttle bus—as quickly as possible.

If camping, wait out the storm in a safe structure or vehicle, not a tent.

Do not touch rock walls or any metal on vehicles or structures.

Monsoonal moisture is forecasted to bring showers and thunderstorms to Grand Canyon region through next week, according to the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.

The greatest threats will be the potential of flash flooding due to heavy rain, along with frequent lightning, gusty winds and small hail.

Thunderstorms capable of producing 1 to 2 inches or more of rain in one hour and in some locations producing dangerous flash flooding.

Grand Canyon National Park reminds visitors to never drive or walk into floodwaters. It is impossible to know how deep the water is just by looking at it.

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