Wacky Monsoon Weather catches rock climbers off guard
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Sheets of slippery rain cover the roads. Hail the size of marbles pound on the top of cars. Lighting flashes across the sky. It looked like the start of a major monsoon in most of Tucson on Saturday.
"The clouds were green so it looked like a tornado would come out of it," said Lara Swinarton. So Swinarton and her kids thought it would be fun to chase the storm. "I told them it was going to be the storm of the summer," she said.
But it wasn't -- the storm of the summer. Not even close. Even some city workers, who were doing some repairs, didn't skip a beat as the storm moved out quickly.
But a group of rock climbers found themselves in precarious position about four miles from the top of Mount Lemmon. In an instant, it seemed, the rain commenced.
"It just started pouring on us. Everyone was hiding under a tarp. There was almost a waterfall coming off the edge of a rock," said David Adams.
While most of the suprised climbers had carefully retreated to the bottom of the rock they were climbing, "because these climbing shoes that we wear, when they become wet, they become very very slick," said Trent Streeter. Another climber was still stuck at the top. "So eventually he got down about 5 minutes after all of us and we were soaking at the bottom as he was just getting pounded by the rain when he was on the rock face," said Eric Brown. They narrowly escapted the hail that came crashing down as they raced to their cars several minutes later.
"You just hear everything banging around the road start to fill up looked like a half inch of ice. You'd think it was snowing actually," said Brown.
KGUN9'S Valerie Cavazos asked one of the climbers if thiss the worst storm you've been in while you were trying to climb. "Oh yeah, by far," said Justin Powers.