Be Aware of Our Monsoon Season, which runs from June 15th through September 30th. Here are some tips to keep you safe.
Every thunderstorm produces one or more bolts of lightning. This hazard kills 1 to 2 Arizona residents each year; as many as 15 are injures. Because all of us are exposed to thunderstorms during the course of our monsoon season, we need to know how to safeguard ourselves.
How can I safeguard myself? Indoors is the only true safe place to be during a thunderstorm. Any sturdy, enclosed structure will do: a school, your home, a store, etc. If you can't get indoors, inside a hard-topped vehicle (with the windows rolled up) is your next best choice. In either case, stay away from interior metallic objects (wiring, plumbing, etc.) These metal conductors will carry electricity safely to ground in the event of a lightning strike.
How can I safeguard electronic appliances in my home? The most reliable wat to protect sensitive electronic appliances (tvs, computers, etc.) is to unplug them *before* thunderstorms develop. If thunderstorms have already begun, stay away from appliances and their cords since these are possible pathways for lightning's electrical charge.
Can I use my phone? You can safely use a cell or cordless phone provided it isn't connected to its charger/base. Don't ever use a corded telephone during a thunderstorm; it's connected directly to metal conductors that may bring the lightning's electrical charge your way.
For more information on lightning and lightning safety, see: www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov
Flash Flood Safety: Flash floods kill 2 to 3 Arizona residents or visitors each year.
Our summertime thunderstorms often produce more rainfall than the ground can absorb. In these cases, runoff occurs and water levels in washes and stream beds increase. Flash flooding occurs when stream flow increases to the point that it is a threat to life and property. Northern Arizona is subjected to between 40 and 50 flash floods each summer.
The worst areas for flooding are the many washes in the area, small gullies where heavy rains drained off. That's where drivers will normally encounter signs cautioning against crossing the road when flooded.
Those signs should be heeded carefully. Even if the water rushing across the road looks only an inch or two deep, it may very well be so deep that vehicles, including high clearance trucks, stall and get stuck in the wash.
How can I safeguard myself? Stay informed or weather forecasts and warnings.
When Outdoors, stay out of washes and stream beds even under sunny skies. Thunderstorms produce heavy precipitation that can follow waterways for miles and pose a threat far from the storm. If caught unaware by a flash flood, move to higher ground immediately.
If driving, and blocked by water over a roadway, wait for the water to subside or find an alternate route ro your destination. DO NOT Drive into the water. It's difficult or impossible to know how deep the water mat be and surprisingly shallow, flowing water can carry a vehicle away. Most flash flood fatalities occur when motorists attempt to drive through flood waters. "TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN!"
If living in a flood-prone area, develop an evacuation plan.
For more information on Flash Flood Safety, see: