dust storm travelling over the Arizona desert

5 Things to Remember During Your First Arizona Monsoon

Monsoon Safety Tips

Arizona weather is relatively mild, making it an attractive vacation or home destination for many people around the country. However, those not native to the area may be unaware that the state has the monsoon annually from June to September. During this time, thunderstorms, dust walls, and high winds are to be expected.

Although long-time residents may already be prepared to handle these conditions, transplants and tourists may have a harder time adjusting. To make it easier, here are five things you need to remember during this time of year.

1. Creating an Emergency Kit

The Arizona Emergency Information Network (AZEIN) recommends that each home maintains an emergency or "go" kit that can be easily transported at a moment's notice. These kits should be made with your household members (including pets) in mind, containing at least 72 hours' worth of food, water, and supplies. While many people choose only to have these in case of a home evacuation, keeping a smaller version in your vehicle for emergencies is also a safe option.

Here are a few items to keep on hand in your vehicle kit:

  • Jumper cables
  • First aid kit, including your prescribed medication(s)
  • Nonperishable food items and at least a gallon of water per person/pet
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Multi-purpose tool or small toolbox
  • Blankets and extra clothes
  • Portable phone charger

AZEIN also recommends that your car stays at a full tank during the monsoon season in case of an emergency that leaves you stranded somewhere.

2. Preparing Your Home

If for some reason you have to evacuate during this monsoon, ensure that you have peace of mind leaving your home in the best shape it can be. To do this, prepare both the interior and exterior with these tips:

  • When there are trees near your home, ensure any overhanging or large branches are trimmed and that smaller trees or bushes are staked down.
  • Inspect your windows, doorways, and roof for any cracks or gaps that may make it easier for moisture or rainwater to enter your home.
  • Check your drainage system and fix any blockages that may make waterlogging more likely. You should also double-check to make sure your gutters are cleared out.

3. Maintaining Your Vehicle

When summer rolls around, there are many things that one can be doing to prepare and maintain their vehicle for the weather ahead. Since this season can be unpredictable, it is crucial to keep up with regular maintenance before bad weather hits. Here's how you can do that on your own:

  • Check the tread depth on your tires by placing a quarter (head down) into the groove. If you can see all of George Washington, your tires are too worn and should be replaced.
  • Make sure your brakes are in working order. If you hear any grinding or squealing, you may need to get them looked at by a professional.
  • Replace your windshield wipers and fluid before the season starts to avoid mishaps in the later months.

Heavy rains require that your brakes be in their best shape, so take preventative measures instead of risking a potential collision.

4. What to Do When You See a Flooded Roadway

The old saying "turn around, don't drown" perfectly sums up what motorists should do when encountering a flooded roadway. Even if you are in a lifted vehicle like a pickup truck, it only takes an estimated 18 inches of flooding to carry most cars away.

Remember, Arizona doesn't experience significant rainfall year-round, making flash floods unfortunately common during this time of year. Anytime you see water in the roadway after a storm, avoid driving in that area.

5. Handling Dust Storms in Your Vehicle

Being caught in the middle of a dust storm during your commute is the last thing anyone wants to experience. Along with that, driving during a dust storm can be dangerous, causing dozens of injuries each year. If you can avoid being on the road when a storm is predicted, that will be your safest option; however, it is not uncommon for people to miss the watch/warning alerts. If this is the case and a dust storm occurs while you are driving, remember this:

  • Immediately pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and put it in park (but keep your seatbelt fastened).
  • The AZEIN recommends turning off headlights and taillights, as well as taking your foot off the brake, so other motorists don't mistake you for driving in the roadway.
  • Wait for the storm to pass before getting out of the vehicle.

Choosing to be on the roads during a dust storm is not only dangerous but could be considered negligent if you were to cause a collision. Avoid reckless driving behaviors during the monsoon, and make sure that every motorist arrives home safely.

Arizona Personal Injury Attorneys

Kamper & Estrada, PLLC wants to ensure that all new and long-time Phoenix residents are well-prepared to handle this monsoon. Our attorneys understand the stress that can come with these events and provide comfort in your time of need.

If you need legal assistance during this time, call (602) 230-1234 or fill out this short form to get in touch with a member of our team.


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