SANTA FE, NM – July 16, 2021 – The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has been receiving moderate to heavy rainfall across the forest with more predicted in the forecast. Along with this welcome precipitation, New Mexico’s monsoon season also brings weather concerns for flash flooding and lightning. We can’t control the weather, but we can do our best to prepare for what it may bring.
Be proactive when it comes to being outdoors this time of year by visiting Monsoon Safety tips. Drive with caution during periods of heavy rain, and plan for any delays if you must leave your house. A foot of water will float many vehicles while two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. Never drive through flooded roadways because you don’t know the road conditions under the water. Turn around, don’t drown. Be careful when pulling over or turning around on highways or on SFNF forest roads because road shoulders can soften during heavy rainfall and strand motorists in the mud.
For avid recreationists, choosing to stay inside is not always the first choice. If the weather is not going to stop you from enjoying what you do, keep these tips in mind when you are planning to recreate on the forest:
· Always check the weather. Planning for activities in the morning is usually better because thunderstorms tend to develop mid-day.
· Avoid hiking in canyons or crossing drainages. Heavy rainfall up the canyon or drainage will put you in harm’s way of flowing debris.
· Avoid hiking at higher elevations to reduce lightning exposure.
· Don’t cross rushing water. It only takes 6 inches of water to impact your footing and balance.
· Stay calm and stay alert. Keep monitoring the sky and be flexible with your time outdoors.
There is no place outside that is safe from a lightning strike. As soon as you hear thunder, seek shelter if possible and stay inside at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder. If suitable shelter isn’t nearby, seek protection in a valley or depression in the terrain and assume a crouching position with your weight on the balls of your feet, your head lowered, and ears covered. Never lie flat on the ground. Visit Lightning Safety Tips and Resources for additional information.