Storm and flooding

Any time of the year, severe storms can cause landslides, flooding, uprooted trees, and downed utility lines.

  • If water has entered a garage or home, try not to walk through it – it may contain hazardous materials.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you must walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Stay clear of water that is in contact with downed power lines.
  • Do not allow children to play around washes, storm drains or any flooded areas or areas that could be affected by flash flooding.
  • If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect electric appliances and shut off electric circuits. If advised by your local utility, shut off gas service as well.

The Monsoon in Pima County

This type of storm happens in the months of June, July, August and September. These intense summer rain storms can contain heavy rain, lots of lightning and strong winds. They often cause dangerous flash floods. Flash floods are the number one weather related killer in the United States. A flash flood is a rapid rise of water in a street, wash crossing or low lying urban area. Flash flood damage and fatalities tend to occur in areas immediately adjacent to washes, arroyos, drainage channels and street crossings.

Monsoon Related Hazards

  • Flash floods
  • Lightning
  • High winds
  • Dust storms
  • Downed power lines
  • Streets flooded with water and debris
  • Reduced visibility
  • Mud and rock slides
  • Fast moving deep water in channels
  • Dangerous roadway underpasses
  • Wild fires
  • Hail

Monsoon Driving Safety

A flash flood can travel miles beyond the storm that generated it, catching unwary hikers and motorists by surprise. Never attempt to drive across a flooded roadway. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto-related and about 75% of fatalities occur at night. If you come upon a flooded roadway, STOP. The depth of the water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water and you could be stranded or trapped. Wait for the flood waters to go down or turn around and go another way.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown! It only takes two feet of flowing water to sweep most vehicles downstream. Low profile vehicles can be moved even easier. Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. When driving at highway speeds excess water on the roadway can cause your vehicle to lose traction. Slow down to a safe speed to avoid hydroplaning and losing control of your vehicle. Monsoons often contain high winds and cause dust storms, presenting additional driving hazards.

Additional Information

During flash flood season the National Weather Service via NOAA Weather Radio 162.4 Mhz has 24-hour weather broadcasts. Warnings are also broadcast on local radio and television stations.

Ready.gov has basic safety tips, information on planning, as well as more information on warnings you may encounter.

Flood insurance is not usually included in homeowner policies.  It is a good idea to assess your risk and consider flood insurance when applicable.
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