- On January 16, 2017
During the summer months, Arizonian’s are faced with some of the most severe weather throughout the United States. This is why the National Weather Service has declared the middle of June through the end of September as “Monsoon Season”, a time of very high temperatures that partner with torrential thunderstorms, making it a recipe for nasty weather. This is why it is important for people to be aware of all the dangers and residual effects that accompany these weather patterns, to protect their home and family.
The statistics are alarming! In Arizona alone, there are approximately 15 injuries and 2-3 deaths per year as a result of these seasonal storms. In order to prevent these disasters from occurring, one must fully understand how the key components such as dust storms, flash floods & lightning can affect these statistics.
The sound of summer rain is typically soothing, but during monsoon season, the sound of roaring thunderstorms can cause distress for anyone. A monsoon is caused by warm air creating surface low-pressure zones that in turn draw moist air from the oceans. The wind shift and increase in moisture combine with the surface low pressure from the desert heat to produce storms in a cycle of “bursts” (heavy rainfall) and “breaks” (reduced rainfall).This rainfall often produces a large downpour of water than the ground can absorb. Our Arizona roadways are not built to accommodate such rainfall, and as a result, runoffs occur and water pours into washes while streambeds increase. This is how we become at risk for flash floods.
Haboobs (Dust Storms) and Downburst Winds are also one of the signs that the monsoon season is in full swing. They are intimidating and definitely a sight for those who just moved to Arizona. Before the rain, the wind shift can trigger dust storms. They appear as loose swirling walls of dust several hundred feet high. Dust storms in the desert are dangerous and can cause damage to your home and can lead to highway injuries and fatalities.
Lighting shows during monsoon season are some of the most beautiful sights in the sky, the downside is that they can also cause a tremendous amount of damage. Property losses related to lightning strikes exceed $1 billion annually, according to insurance industry data. These losses can range from damage to expensive electronic equipment to fires that destroy an entire house or business.
Protect Yourself & Your Family
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for monsoon season is to stay informed of weather forecasts and warnings. Keep following reports closely for any changes in warning status. This means the severe weather is producing floods, dust storms, lightning warnings, they should not be taken lightly. You should stay indoors until the warning clears or take shelter nearby.
Protect Your Home
This means that you should take precautions to prevent water damage to your property. Storm damage repair are something you want to avoid.
1. Clear your condensate drain line. Your air conditioner removes moisture from the air and lets it exit through a condensation line. But those dust storms can easily clog the drain line, causing condensation to back up into your home and cause major water damage.
2. Install backflow valves on your plumbing system. These valves will ensure that water will not flood piping through the sewer system or other water system.
3. Install proper yard drainage. The last thing you want is to cause water damage because of an ignored 1-inch puddle sitting next to your home. Make sure all of your landscaping near the home is level or drains away from your walls.
4. If you have a basement In your AZ home, install a sump pump. It will pump water out of the house before a small flood causes major storm damage.
5. Install Water alarms in your home. Water alarms that are set in key places help to prevent floods. Put them in places such as in your garage or under a washer or sink. They are inexpensive and can save you from major damage by alerting you via phone, email or text that you have an issue.
6. Do not wait to take care of water issues. Shut your water off and call a water restoration company to perform water damage repair, dry your home structures ASAP. Many times the issue will be completely or mostly covered by your home insurance, especially if the flood is caused by monsoon weather.
7. Combat mold before it can grow. Remember that mold can grow in as little as 24-48 hours, so a quick response is a must. Most times the water damage specialists can also perform mold remediation since they both go hand in hand.
Usually, flood warnings will also give an estimate on how much rain is expected to fall. This warning will be upgraded to a ‘flash flood warning’ if the water reaches levels high enough to cause drowning. Thunderstorms produce heavy precipitation that can follow waterways for miles and pose a threat far from the storm. Do not drive into the water. It’s difficult or impossible to know how deep the water may be and surprisingly shallow, flowing water can carry a vehicle away. Most flash flood fatalities occur when motorists attempt to drive through floodwaters.
If you are driving and encounter a dust storm, attempt get off of the highway as far away as possible from traffic. It is also important to stay informed of weather forecasts and warnings and to monitor highway information signs for indications of dust storms.
Indoors is the only truly safe place to be during the summer monsoon season. If you can’t get indoors, stay inside of a hard-topped vehicle (with the windows rolled up) is your next best option. The thunderstorms that follow monsoons are a cocktail of violent weather dust storms, lightning, floods, and in some cases, all prove to be present dangers. Every year these storms take down vital infrastructure, leave homes in shambles, produce water damage, and more. You must act proactively to prevent losing your home and/or livelihood during monsoon season.
Having an emergency weather plan in place is important for minimizing damage and saving lives. You should have a plan that includes the routes to nearby shelters, a way to secure all of your family photos, legal documents, a catalog of all your valuables, and at least a week’s supply of food, water, and hygiene products. It is also advisable to purchase self-charging weather radios, walkie-talkies, solar-powered devices, and simple family entertainment items to keep stress levels down during a time of emergency. Keep a list of service professionals such as Plumbers and Restoration companies who specialize in caring for your property when disaster strikes!