Monsoon season in the Desert Southwest usually means thunderstorms, strong winds, torrential rain and haboobs, yet so far this season has been quiet.U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground’s (YPG) Lead Meteorologist Gabriel Langbauer explains we should still not let our guard down. “Monsoon season can be very dangerous and very unpredictable.”Langbauer recalls an incident several years ago at YPG when he saw the dirt road collapse under a truck in front of him. “The rain had eaten the ground below the surface but the road still looked good.”YPG’s Meteorology (MET) team has recorded some astonishing statistics from the YPG Climate Station over the years, such as wind at 61 knots (about 70 miles per hour) in August 1996 and six inches of rain in 1992, which Langbauer calls the “most monsoon only rain” received at YPG.Langbauer notes there could have been stronger winds in other parts of the installation, however the YPG Climate Station goes back to the 1950s, so it is used as the reference station.One fact to keep in mind is that due to size of YPG, roughly the size of Road Island, what is happening on one side of the installation may not be happening all-around, so employees must be vigilant.“A lot of times those thunders storms happen overnight, so you go home from your shift and you think it’s all safe, and you don’t realize some of the farther parts of YPG had a thunderstorm.”Langbauer uses one of the weathers towers on the Kofa range as an example. “It’s more exposed desert, there are no buildings out there, and it has the Wellton Mountains to play off, so it can be a little more extreme.”The MET team is made up of three meteorologist, two electronic technicians and three TRAX contractors who use a variety of equipment to track and forecast what might be heading our way.“We start with the national available satellites and radars,” we can use that for a regional overview for the Desert Southwest. To track what is happening on YPG specifically they utilize “a series of weather surface stations, roughly 30 of which gives us a good understanding of what’s going on.”Those metrics include visibility and wind sensors at multiple heights. The MET team also performs 4,000 balloon launches a year (paid for by the customers to track weather for testing events) more than anywhere else in the world. There are also 16 wash sensors that measure the height of water which strategically placed around the ranges.“Those are really helpful to keep people safe and lets Range Operations and Shearwater Mission Support know if there has been any water damage” they also alert Range Operations when washes are running. “You know if there are four feet of water on a sensor that everything is destroyed.”Another danger of monsoon season are lightning strikes: The desert southwest gets it’s good share of lightning.“Several years ago we had a lightning strike hit the electrical substation and cause a fire.”This monsoon season Langbauer wants employees to keep in mind:• After rainfall anywhere where there is a dramatic change of terrain are places you need to be extra cautious with.• When you see a dust storm just pull over and wait it out.• Lightning can get your car, yourself, the building yourself so try to stay away from lightning.