TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Hiking always comes with some risks, but during monsoon the weather can be even more unpredictable and dangerous. You can get caught in extreme temperatures, heavy rains, or even flash flooding when the weather appears dry.
“We’ve hiked people out and helicoptered out,” said Southern Arizona Rescue Association volunteer and spokesperson John Perchorowicz.
Perchorowicz has seen more than his share of tragedies over the years -- including at popular hiking spots like Tanque Verde Falls and Bear Canyon.
“It was swimmable, and everyone was having fun and this wall of water came through that was 6 or 7 feet high and swept a couple people away,” he said.
Perchorowicz says heavy rains in the mountains can hit you in the valleys as a flash flood long after the skies have cleared.
You should always check the weather report for the day you are hiking and for the two days prior.
You also want to make sure someone knows where you are going.
“Decide where you are going to go hiking, tell someone where you are going hiking, don’t hike alone and go where you say you are going.”
After that, it is all about preparation. Bring a fully charged phone and enough water to last the whole hike. Take a flashlight in case it gets dark and something to protect you if it rains.
“We’ve had folks with hyperthermia when it is 65 degrees outside when the temperature drops after a sudden rainstorm, and they get wet.”
Perchorowicz says your best tool to keep yourself safe is some knowledge about the weather and the area. And if you run into rising water on your hike, do not try to cross it.
“Be prepared, think about where you are going, and what is likely to happen while you are out there,” said Perchorowicz.