Monsoon is coming.

Ahead of the Southwest's spectacular stormy summer season, the National Weather Service is observing Monsoon Safety Awareness Week June 7-11.

Locally, the week kicks off with a press conference and safety fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at Desert Diamond Casino on Nogales Highway. The public is invited.

During the week, the National Weather Service is distributing public safety awareness information on fire weather and dry lightning hazards, lightning safety, flash flood safety, downburst winds, dust storms and heat stress, according to Ken Drozd, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tucson.

Each year, Southern Arizonans experience "a variety of weather-related dangers, especially from late spring into early autumn," an NWS release said.

The time period from June 15 through Sept. 30 has been defined as "The Monsoon."

A period of extreme heat is typically ongoing at its onset, followed by an influx of moisture leading to daily rounds of thunderstorms.

"The heat is deadly in its own right, causing dozens of deaths in Arizona each year," the release said. "In addition, thunderstorms present an array of hazards which often strike suddenly and with violent force."

Each year in Arizona since 1995, lightning strikes, high winds, tornadoes and flash flooding have caused an average of five deaths, 27 injuries, and $66 million in property damage. Road closures, power and communication outages and wildfires are additional consequences of monsoon weather hazards.

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