How to stay safe during the monsoon

Monsoon season in Pima County brings relief from high temperatures and badly needed water to our desert community.  This year’s monsoon season officially begins on June 16.  

Monsoon TipsThe Pima County Flood Control District wants you to be safe during monsoons. Watching downpours during storms or the raging water in rivers and washes afterward is a favorite pastime of many desert dwellers, but there are safety issues to consider.
  • Storm watching is better done inside. While storm watching from a covered patio is often enjoyable and gets you “closer to the action,” but lightning is unpredictable, and random lightning strikes can be deadly.  
  • It can be exciting to watch raging washes and rivers, but if these waterways do not have bank protection, or if existing bank protections fail, erosion can cause the sudden collapse of the ground into the flowing water.  
Driving during and after monsoon storms can be dangerous. If you are driving during a particularly heavy downpour, pull into a parking lot and wait for the rain to subside. If there is no parking lot to pull into, pull off the road and park on the shoulder.  

Heavy rains typically subside quickly during our monsoon storms. A delay of only 10 to 20 minutes could prevent an accident and ensure you arrive safely to you destination.

Never drive into a flowing a wash. 

Many people think they can make it through because they observed a vehicle in front of the successfully maneuver to the other side. Others assume their vehicles are heavy to safely cross.  

Here are some reasons that this type of reasoning is faulty:
  • What may appear to be only few inches of water is often deeper than it appears.
  • When you cannot see the street pavement beneath the water, you do not know whether the pavement is damaged or even still there. It is possible the car that went through before you weakened the asphalt.  If you enter a flowing wash, you might find yourself sinking into mud instead of driving on asphalt.
  • Gas mileage on the vehicles we buy is improving because vehicles are getting lighter.  A modern-day car is less likely to make it through running water than the heavier models from past years.
Never ignore barricades. 

If barricades have been placed at a wash it is because it is too dangerous to enter.  Being washed away could result in your death and the death of your passengers. If you don’t die, you will get to pay a hefty fine and the expenses incurred during the rescue.

Being delayed because of weather conditions is inconvenient and even annoying. However, it is better to be delayed than risk serious injury or death. 

Keep a book or a magazine in your car. Rainstorms and washes subside quickly. Chances are you will safely be on your way in 30 minutes or less. 
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Tucson, AZ 85701

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