That’s the message from the El Paso Fire Department after a woman fell and died while hiking in the Franklin Mountains on Monday. Monday was a day that saw El Paso drenched by record rainfall.

The hiker was a 39 year old woman who has not been publicly named as of this writing. The El Paso Fire Department spokesman, Enrique Duenas-Aguilar, said, “She was hiking in the afternoon and a strip of water washed her away. She suffered some injuries and didn’t survive”.

The hikers body was recovered by Fire Department crews near the part of the Franklin Mountains near Coronado Country Club in West El Paso. The woman reportedly was hiking, during a Flash Flood Warning, with another person. The other person, who wasn’t injured, called 911 to report the incident. After falling, the woman’s body was swept away by the water that was running down the side of the mountain.

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The record setting rainfall had started Sunday afternoon in El Paso causing some street flooding. By 10 am on Monday parts of the city had recorded 2 ½ inches of rain. By the time the hiker’s body was recovered the nearest rain gauge in that area had recorded over

So, why was someone hiking the mountain during a rainstorm? The rain was intermittent throughout the day on Monday. Even if the hike had begun during one of the short breaks in the rain, the amount of rain that had already fallen would have made hiking the mountains a dangerous undertaking. Even under IDEAL conditions, hiking trails on that portion of the mountain can be unsteady, especially at steeper grades.

The Fired Department spokesman says that everyone should avoid hiking the mountain while the rainy weather persists. Rain is in the forecast every day for at least the next 7 days.

“We have flash flood warnings”, said Duenas-Aguilar. “We’re asking for people to stay away…at least for now”.

 

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