Editorial: 3 ways to stay safe during monsoon season
Updated as of Wednesday, July 10, 2019 9:55 PM
June’s “Monsoon Awareness Week” declared by Gov. Doug Ducey came and went like most thunderstorms do this time of year, except without the actual storms.
And since then, the past month has seen little to no moisture.
Weather experts, including the meteorology department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, predicted a month ago that Arizona would see a much later start to the summer rainy season.
But according to the National Weather Service in Flagstaff on Wednesday, many parts of northern Arizona have a 30% to 50% chance of storms this weekend, and with potential dust storms in southern Arizona expected due to excessive heat warnings in the state, the monsoons may finally be here.
With that, the Courier editorial board would like to remind its readers of a few safety tips during the monsoons:
The best way to avoid being caught in the middle of a lightning storm, flash flood or other dangerous condition is by not being in danger in the first place.
Watching current weather forecasts via TV or the internet, listening for weather reports on local radio stations and scanning the skies around you are just a few tips offered by monsoonsafety.org.
Readers can visit dCourier.com for regular weather updates and road closures, as well.
Also, keep in mind that during Arizona monsoons, depending on where you live, one should expect a storm is coming every afternoon at some point. Usually in the Prescott area, clouds start rolling in right around 3 p.m.
For your home, a disaster supply kit could come in handy. A first aid kit, medications, canned goods, a few gallons of water, candles and a portable battery-operated radio are recommended. Lightning storms can knock power out in surrounding neighborhoods at any time.
For your car, having water, a flashlight, emergency road flares, blankets and phone-charging cords could help ease any situation when becoming stuck on the side of a road because of a storm.
When driving in a storm, steer clear of downed power lines and call 911 to make authorities aware of the situation. Also, avoid driving too fast in heavy rain situations. Hydroplaning can happen in less than one-tenth of an inch of rain, and at 35 mph or faster.
As for road flooding, turn around and find another route when seeing signs warning of flood-prone areas, and do not attempt to cross running water. It takes only 1 to 2 feet of water to float a vehicle, and a hole or dip in the street may not be visible.
Finally, if a dust storm creeps up on your afternoon drive, be sure to pull over to the side of the road as far as possible and put your hazard lights on. Dust storms usually last a few minutes or as long as an hour. Wait it out and stay safe!
— The Daily Courier