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Monsoon creates hazards for unprepared Grand Canyon vacationers

PHOENIX — With the monsoon underway in Arizona, the Grand Canyon National Park Service is warning visitors to take extra precaution.

Seasoned Arizonans might be aware of what dangers the storms present, but with people visiting the Grand Canyon from all over the country and world, park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said it’s important for people to know what to do if a storm comes along.

“If they hear thunder and they see a flash of lightning within 30 seconds or less, they should seek shelter,” she said.

Even though lightning might make for a spectacular view over the canyon, Shedlowski said it’s not worth the risk.
“A lot of people don’t know that lightning can strike at pretty far distances,” she said.

“One of the things we always advise visitors is that lightning can strike 10 miles across the canyon.”

Shedlowski said there is even a catchphrase to help travelers remember what to do in a storm:
“If you see it, flee it and if you hear it, clear it,” she said. “So basically get away from the rim (and) seek shelter.”

Flash floods also present a risk to canyon visitors. Shedlowski advised people never camp in dry washes or cross water if it is above their knees.

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