"How's the weather in Albuquerque?" I asked.
"We're having monsoon season right now," my friend Adam confessed.
"What the heck is Monsoon Season?"
"Well, it rains real hard for about 10 to 20 minutes everyday," he said.
"So, it's kinda like Florida without the beach," I replied.
Monsoons are no joking matter. You can see these storms coming. Early in the day, large, dark clouds begin to form over the Sandia Mountains in the East. Then around 5 or 6 p.m., the weather lets loose with huge drops of cold rain, driving gusts of wind (up to 40 mph) and lightning displays that rival any Midwestern thunderstorm. Some weather experts claim this year's storms are lasting longer and dumping more rain than ever.
What's makes this dangerous is that Albuquerque sits in a massive valley. From east to west, the mountains rise, then the land steeply slopes down until leveling out near the Rio Grande river. Continuing westward from the river the land rises into the high plains, meaning anytime it rains, all the precipitation flows toward the middle, flash-flooding arroyos, swamping streets, soaking the city and swelling the Rio Grande. Then after the rain, the temperature drops to about 70 degrees, the storm passes and the sun shines until it sets.
In fact, the weather is the talk of town here; everyone is gabbing about it. In just two days, I've heard the apartment manager, the retiree, the cable installer, the painter and the maintenance man all mentioned the monsoon season. On top of that, every local newscast I've watched has begun with an extreme weather update. All this talk is driving me crazy, because in Kentucky we called this weather summertime.
Never would I have associated "Monsoon Season" and "Albuquerque, N.M.," no matter how poor my mental condition. I've been in South America and Central Africa during their "rainy seasons" with downpours, washouts, mudslides, etc. I've even experienced a month in Germany with constant cloud cover where I only saw my shadow for about 10 minutes, but I was not expecting this type of weather in Albuquerque. Where are the 95 degree days with little to no humidity? What happened to the "310 days of sunshine" the brochure promised?