Monsoon Safety Tips
Posted on July 6, 2021 by Las Sendas Community Association
Monsoon season is here! Below, here are a few tips that you can share with your neighbors and family.
BEFORE A STORM
- Always be aware of the day’s forecast and stay on top of updates. Monsoons can develop quickly and move rapidly.
- Trim heavy branches and landscaping that may break or fall.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Have extra light and power handy. Keep batteries, flashlights, and a battery-operated radio or TV on hand to keep you up to date during severe weather.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan and kit.
DURING A STORM
Lightning — Lightning can strike up to 60 miles away from the nearest rainfall. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning.
- When indoors, do not touch any wires or plumbing inside a building. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
- If you are caught outdoors in a thunderstorm, and safe shelter is not available, find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Avoid high ground, water, trees, and metal objects.
Wind — Thunderstorm wind gusts in Arizona almost always exceed 40 miles per hour. The strongest straight-line wind gusts can exceed 100 miles per hour and can produce damage similar to a tornado!
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage. This includes garbage cans, umbrellas, patio furniture, and any other unsecured items around your yard.
- Stay away from trees. Many people are killed or injured in severe thunderstorms by falling trees, flying debris, or downed power lines.
- Never touch a downed power line, even if it appears dead. Assume that it is live. Call for help instead.
Dust Storms — Dust storms move rapidly and can reduce visibility almost instantly. Dust storms will usually appear well ahead of thunderstorms, so be aware of the current weather situation even if you don’t see storms nearby.
- If you encounter a dust storm, pull off the road immediately. Turn off your headlights and taillights, put your vehicle in park, and take your foot off the brake. Other motorists may follow tail lights in an attempt to get through the dust storm and may strike your vehicle from behind if you leave yours on.
- Stay where you are until the dust storm passes.
- Do not go out in a dust storm if you can avoid it.
Flash Floods — The land in Arizona is so dry that a hard crust forms over it, making it difficult for the ground to absorb moisture. When the water cannot seep into the ground, it collects in low-lying roads and washes, which causes flooding. It is challenging, especially at night, to discern the depth or force of moving water. What may seem like a shallow stream may actually prove more dangerous.
- The way to prevent becoming trapped or swept away by flowing water is to not drive through it.
- In 1995, Arizona created the “Stupid Motorist Law” to encourage Arizona drivers to use common sense when driving through flooded areas. The law specifically bans drivers from driving around barricades to prevent them from driving through a flooded area. Drivers trapped after driving around barricades may be responsible for paying the cost incurred by police and fire emergency personnel to rescue a stranded motorist.
- Beware of distant thunderstorms, especially if they’re over mountains. Flash flooding can occur many miles away from the thunderstorm as the runoff flows into the valleys and deserts.
- Hikers and mountain bikers should try to get out earlier in the day to avoid the dangers of flash flooding and lightning.