thumbnail The monsoon arrives in the desert
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The monsoon arrives in the desert © Jack Dykinga/Minden Pictures
Lightning strikes are common during the summer monsoon in southwestern US states and northwestern Mexico. In Arizona and New Mexico, powerful thunderstorms roll in most every afternoon from early July until mid-September. Here, in the Sonoran Desert north of Tucson, Arizona, severe weather over saguaro cactus makes for a dramatic scene.