Monsoons are created when extreme summer heat meets with moisture and humidity. Arizona is in the North American Monsoon geographical area where the monsoon usually starts in early June with the formation of active thunderstorms in Mexico and their movement to the Arizona. Monsoon in Arizona usually ends by September. Monsoon provides about half of the annual precipitation in Arizona. Arizonans experience heavy rain, lightening, hail, dust storms, strong winds, and flash floods during this season. For further details check: https://bit.ly/42Ogf7C
Arizona Emergency Information Network compiled monsoon awareness information and they encourage Arizonans to take the steps like plan, prepare, inquire, and inspire to prepare for the season:
- Plan - family communication plan: write and rehearse it with all family members. This must include the family response in case of emergency, evacuation, communication, emergency contacts, the contact information of all family members (including the ones out of town) and must identify the meeting place. For details check: https://ein.az.gov/get-prepared/plan
- Prepare – emergency go kit: This must include nonperishable food and water for your family and pets that lasts for at least 72 hours. Also include family prescriptions, important documents, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizers, face coverings, etc. The emergency go kit can be for home, work, and vehicle. For details check: https://ein.az.gov/get-prepared/prepare
- Inquire - know the hazards in your community and where you are planning to go: Be informed about current weather forecasts and the hazards in your area.
- Inspire – be a preparedness example for your community: Manage things like overhanging trees, loose debris etc. that can cause potential hazard. Donate blood, get vaccinated, do fire drills at home, prepare for power outage, help you neighbor with planning and preparing.
Turn Around, Don’t Drown: in Arizona the weather can vary dramatically from one place to another. Pay attention to weather forecasts, warning, current conditions, etc., when travelling throughout the state and do not underestimate the power of the water as flash flood are very common in this season.
Pull Aside, Stay Alive: Monsoon winds can result in dense dust storms that reduces the visibility to near zero in seconds. In such situation, pull off the road, place vehicle in park, turn off your vehicle’s lights, and take your foot off the brake, remain inside with seatbelt fasten and wait till the situation resolves. Arizona Department of Transportation provides quick tips for staying safe in a dust storm at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xSH4nwPgBo
When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors: Summer storms move quickly and can be deadly. In case if storm is approaching, go indoors, seek shelter, and remain indoors for at least 30 minutes after the storm had passed. Lightning strikes can cause fires within 10 miles. This fire can spread very quickly with the high winds. Seek shelter if you can hear the thunder as it means the lightening is approaching.
Landslide and Debris Flow: A few minutes of Arizona’s monsoon intense rain can result in landslides and debris flow down the slope. These can strike quickly with little to no warning so stay informed with the changes around you. For details check: https://ein.az.gov/hazards/landslides-debris-flow
Earth Fissures: Where the ground sinking, alluvial soil, aquifer depletion and monsoon rain combines, there cracks in earth appear called earth fissures. Monsoon rains can suddenly deepen and widen these fissures that can lead to a potential hazardous situation.
Check out the following resources if interested in preparing for monsoon.
Monsoon Awareness Week Webpage: https://bit.ly/43ejt49