Friday, July 13, 2018

Monsoon Season

It is monsoon season in the desert Southwest (and tornado season in the East, hurricane season in the southeast, and rainy season in Southeast Asia).  Needless to say, there is water everywhere.  Here's some monsoon safety tips:

  • If it is raining in the desert stay inside or head for higher ground.  It only takes a few minutes for flash floods to form.
  • Don't drive or walk/hike through water running down streets or trails or roads; you don't know if the surface beneath the water has washed away and it only takes a few inches of water to knock a person off their feet and carry them away (less than a foot of rushing water will carry off a vehicle).
  • Don't play in the washes (either natural or man-made drainage paths).  Again, rushing water can kill you even if you are a good swimmer (mostly people get trapped under debris and drown this way).
  • Pay attention to weather alerts and warnings as well as calls for evacuations.  These warnings are based on the latest science so when officials say get out of the area they aren't guessing, they are trying to save lives.
  • If you are going hiking or rock climbing, don't do so when it has recently rained, is currently raining, or is forecasted to rain.  Slot canyons are especially deadly when it is raining, and some of the best rocks for climbing in the desert crumble away when they get wet.
  • Buy flood insurance if you live in a flood-prone area (flood damage isn't usually covered under basic homeowner insurance policies).
  • Try not to drive when it is raining in the desert for several reasons: people don't know how to drive in the rain here which becomes obvious pretty quickly, hydroplaning is common, the roads are really slippery (oil in the road rises to the top when it rains), and roads often become de-facto drainage paths for flood water.
  • Monsoon season also brings electrical storms as well as dust storms so prepare for those as well.

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