Jul 26, 2014 1:17 AM by Nathan O'Neal

Monsoon storm brings lightning, heavy rain and mudslides to Mt. Lemmon

TUCSON - While some parts of the valley did not see a spot of rain Friday, Mount Lemmon got a lot of action from heavy rain and wind to lightning and hail.

Coleen O'Leary was camping in the mountains when a bolt of lightning nearby knocked her off her feet.

"The tree behind me was hit and I just saw a flash of white and thunder at the same time and couldn't get up," O'Leary said, adding: "But the nice folks at the camp site back there came and helped me up, put me in the car and called the paramedic."

She was uninjured by the encounter but the tree had pieces of bark tripped from the trunk and flung everywhere.

"I just thank God it wasn't any closer," O'Leary said.

Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Brenda Schupback said the unpredictability of lightning in Monsoon storms is reason enough not to risk it.

"If there's a storm and there's lightning and thunder get inside your car. If you're tent camping, don't stand underneath trees, get inside your car," Schupback said.

An impressive lightning show took hold of the mountain range. One lighting strike even set off a small fire but it was quickly contained by fire crews.

Heavy rains caused several small rock and mudslides along Mt. Lemmon Highway. Traffic was restricted to one lane at one point.

"I was driving my jeep so it was pretty easy for me to get around the rocks and stuff but I could tell it was pretty difficult for other cars," said Ryan King, who was drove up the mountain.


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