The Grand Canyon is a spectacular sight at any time of year and in any weather. In this clip, we get a glimpse of it during what is termed the ‘monsoon season’. Captured from a boat, the footage shows multiple waterfalls of reddy-brown water cascading down sheer cliffs. Scroll down to see the full video of this amazing sight and read on to find out more about this natural phenomenon.
What Is the Grand Canyon Monsoon Season?
The Grand Canyon monsoon season is not the same as the monsoon season most often associated with the tropics. Tropical monsoons are caused by seasonal changes in prevailing winds and are most often connected with the Indian Ocean. There are both summer and winter monsoons and they determine the climate for most parts of India and Southeast Asia.
In contrast, the Grand Canyon monsoon (or monsoonal thunderstorms as they are also called) occur at one time of the year – usually between late June and September. At this time, the winds pick up moist air from the Gulf of California and bring it to the region. The morning sun heats the air inside the Inner Canyon which rises and hits this cooler moist air triggering torrential but short-lived thunderstorms. They often come as a refreshing change from the heat.
The Dangers of Monsoonal Thunderstorms
The monsoonal thunderstorms in Arizona deliver much-needed rain and are a spectacular sight but also present some dangers. Large volumes of water fall in short spaces of time creating streams and localized flooding.
However, the most serious danger comes from the lightning that can accompany this rain. Lightning is formed from powerful electric sparks – it moves at 90,000 miles per second and delivers up to one billion volts! What’s more, it achieves temperatures that are five times hotter than the surface of the sun. Travelers to the Grand Canyon need to be aware that the area gets 25,000 lightning strikes a year. So, the time to view the incredible monsoon waterfalls is after the storm has passed! The official advice from the National Park Service is to check the weather forecast before you set out.
Watch the Incredible Footage Below
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ronan Odonahoe/Shutterstock.com
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