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Monsoon Safety Tips

Emergency Water Damaged Living Room

Here are some trusted safety tips to help Valley residents prepare for monsoon season.

Take shelter in a sturdy building or a hard-topped vehicle during a lightning storm.

You should remain in this shelter 30 minutes after hearing the last rumble of thunder.

Telephone lines conduct electricity, so avoid using landline phones during a storm.

Metal pipes also conduct electricity, so avoid taking showers and baths or using running water during a storm.

Arizona thunderstorm winds often exceed 40 mph and straight-line winds can exceed 100 mph.

Move into a central interior room away from windows to avoid blowing debris that could shatter glass.

Monsoon Season Safety Specifics

If you are driving in high winds, slow down and anticipate a steering correction.

Perform a steering correction when moving from protected to unprotected wind areas or when passing large vehicles.

Be aware of high-profile vehicles such as trucks, semis, buses, campers, or those towing a trailer.

Before the monsoon storm hits, evaluate large trees close to your home for potential hazards.

If caught in a dust storm while driving, pull off the roadway as far as safely possible.

Turn off headlights and taillights, put the vehicle in park, and take your foot off the brake.

When severe dust storms occur, consider cleaning your smoke detectors.

Dust can clog detectors and cause false alarms.

Monsoon lighting over the Valley with Piestewa Peak in the distance.

What is the monsoon?

The term “monsoon” comes from the Arabic word “mausim,” meaning season.

Unlike a single storm, the monsoon refers to a specific season.

In Arizona, the monsoon signifies a shift in the weather pattern.

Normally, winds from the west and southwest keep the state dry.

However, during this period, the wind direction changes.

Winds from the east and southeast bring an unusual amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to Arizona.

The combination of Arizona’s heat and unstable weather with this moisture leads to the formation of storms.

Will this monsoon be any different?

Many people may be wondering if the heat will have any impact on the monsoon season.

The monsoon season in Arizona signals a major weather shift.

Dry west winds yield to moist east winds carrying Gulf of Mexico moisture.

This collision with Arizona’s heat sparks powerful storms and occasionally mold growth.

Intense rainfall and thunderstorms characterize the monsoon season.

What are the records?

According to National Weather Service records that go back to 1896, the wettest monsoon was in 1984.

During this year 9.56 inches of rain fell.

The latest season to make the “Top 10 Wettest” list was in 2014, which came in seventh at 6.34 inches.

The driest monsoon on record was in 1924, with only 0.35 inches of rainfall.

The most recent season on the “Top 10 Driest” list was in 2007, the fifth-driest on record with 0.74 inches.

La Niña is a term for the cooling waters from south of Hawaii to about the coast of South America.

El Niño is the opposite, bringing warmer temperatures to that region.

The term comes from Peruvian fishermen who noticed that the waters were really warm right around Christmas.

They called it El Niño, which means “the Christ Child,” or “the Little Boy.”

The opposing weather phenomenon took on the name La Niña, meaning “the Little Girl.”

El Niño typically brings more rain and moisture in the winter months, while La Niña is typically drier.

How can you prepare?

Free sandbags are available for pickup at many fire stations throughout the Valley.

Some provide bags and shovels for use, but others require residents to bring their own shovels and bags.

Call your local fire department to see what you will need to bring to get sandbags for your home.

According to the National Weather Service, nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related.

Never drive into a flooded roadway, no matter how shallow it looks.

It is extremely difficult to estimate the depth of running water or the strength of a current.

Never drive around barricades.

It only takes 1 to 2 feet of water to float most vehicles, including SUVs.

Never allow children to play near washes or storm drains after any rainfall.

If your home is already dealing with flooding, contact our team with ASAP Restoration today!

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