One of the things about living in the Phoenix area is that almost all of us know of a friend or coworker who has been the victim of a monsoon season disaster. Monsoon season officially starts on June 15 and ends on September 30.
June 12-16 is Flood Awareness Week.
Monsoons often begin with a haboob, the dirty windstorms which blast dust and debris through the Valley at speeds up to 100 m.p.h. The haboob often appears as a brown, rolling haze. The wind has been known to knock down trees and power lines, pick up roofs, tip semis, shatter windows, and create a blinding wall of dirt which reduces visibility to zero.
Lightning is next. If A person who can hear lightning is close enough to be endangered by it. Lightning-related deaths claim about one person per year in Arizona, which doesn’t seem like many (unless it’s you), but for every person who dies of a lightning strike, about nine others live with burns, memory problems, etc. In addition to being a danger to people, lightning can travel through metal and wiring, cause fires, and hit trees and cars.
Finally, the rain is usually a torrent of water which hammers down on homes and streets.Since Phoenix soil contains caliche, the soil structure resembles a sinkful of plates: water wants to splash sideways instead of soaking in. As a result, there is a lot of water which doesn’t immediately permeate the dusty ground. Instead, it causes flooding.
Retention basins have helped. Sandbagging for the homes in the worst danger is also an option. But for many homes, sandbagging won’t work, in which case, the inevitable flooding and mold are an issue.
If a driver is caught in a monsoon, it’s best to pull over as far to the right off the road as possible and turn off the car’s lights. Leaving the lights on makes other drivers think it’s safe to follow and will cause a rear-end collision.
Stay away from open areas, metal objects, and electronics, including phones and television sets.
Unplug delicate electronics.
Avoid flooded areas, especially in places where the water is too deep to see the road.
If a person feels their hair stand on end means lightning is about to strike and should roll into a ball and cover their head with their arms.
Those who live in areas which could be cut off in the event of flooding should keep food on hand which doesn’t have to be cooked or refrigerated and a gallon of water per person per day. Sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and rope can be useful. Flashlights and batteries are essential. Critical medications should be on hand, as well.
Have a plan to evacuate in the event it becomes necessary.
In the case of flooding, lightning or other monsoon damage, we are here to help. The faster disaster relief damage begins, the better the outcome.