Thunderstorms rule our day. We are learning by experience about the strange summer weather in the USA. We have had thunderstorms every day for the last two weeks. Some days its just lightening and dark clouds in the distance, while on other days its very up close and violent. We hid in the car twice in the night during a very close thunderstorm in Sundance Wyoming. We have had thunderstorm warnings on the radio in Nebraska. A few nights ago north of Canyonlands National Park we had a thunderstorm that nearly ripped the tent from the ground despite many guys and all our pegs. It poured with rain, and we had thunder and lightening blasting above us, while almost washing another tent in the campsite away. Yet earlier in the day it was all blue sky and sun. An hour after the thunderstorm it was blue sky again.
In Escalante yesterday it was again a 15 minute violent thunderstorm pouring with rain (although not much wind this time), and again an hour later it was all over and blue sky again.
We look at campsites now differently, looking for the slightest sign that a small depression will turn into a raging torrent during a thunderstorm. We guy the tent every day, because we just don’t get much warning when a thunderstorm starts.
The warning signs are around. In Capitol Reef National Park there were warnings everywhere about the dangers of flash flooding during thunderstorms. In Bryce Canyon National Park every lookout has a warning about staying in your car during a thunderstorm. In this national park in the last 19 years 3 people have died from lightening strikes and 10 people have been injured.