With the arrival of monsoon season in the Phoenix Valley, the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department has issued a few tips to help residents prepare for floods and dust storms, which increase in frequency this time of year.
Officially, the North American Monsoon Season began June 15, according to the National Weather Service. Heavy rains, however, typically don’t begin to fall until mid-July and last until mid-August.
Several weeks of dry winds often precede any torrential rainfall, increasing the likelihood of dangerous dust storms, also known as haboobs.
Precautions for dust storms, according to MFMD, are the same as the rest of the year:
- Do not enter a dust storm if you can safely avoid it.
- Turn on your headlights and slow down.
If visibility is impeded…
- Slowly pull off as far as possible, to the right side of the road.
- Turn off the car and headlights, including emergency flashers.
- Set the parking brake and keep your foot off the brake pedal.
- Keep your seatbelt on.
The MFMD also advises residents to “pay attention to hazard signs and roadblocks.”
When heavy rain begins, they urge drivers to take caution when driving. Aside from visibility, roads do become slick and accidents occur more frequently. Moreover, residents should also be aware of flood zones.
“If you see a sign that says, ‘Do Not Cross When Flooded’ take it seriously and find another way,” MFMD warns.
As a precaution, the city is also providing sand bags to help mitigate damage to homes and businesses threatened by flooding.
For residents on the east side of town, the MFMD said “black boxes with sand bags and filling instructions” can be found in the cul-de-sac end of West Bowlin Road, near MFMD station 572.
For residents on the west side of town, bags and sand can be found in front of the old city hall on the corner of Madison Avenue near Wilson Road.
The Emergency Operations Center will closely monitor the weather during this period and provide the community with emergency information “as needed.”