Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Monsoon Season in the Desert

While living in the desert means we may only get six days of rain a year, all of the rain seems to come at once.  This has been the case over the past few days.  Wind, rain, thunder, lightening...all made an appearance over the past few days and in some areas (fortunately not where we live) that led to flash floods.  Here's some precautions to take when in the desert during monsoon season (aka summer):

  • If it is raining, try to stay indoors.  Floods can form very quickly.  You may be walking down a dry street one minute and see a river of water coming at you the next.
  • If it is raining, try not to drive in low-lying areas and certainly don't drive on flooded streets (you don't know if the street below the water has been washed away or not).
  • Don't play in the wash!  Each season the washes fill up with water and look like fun places to play.  Each season people drown from playing or swimming in the wash because the fast moving water sweeps them down the channel and drowns them under the debris.  Sad.
  • Pay attention to the news.  If there is rain predicted, you can guarantee it will be a big deal on the news (not so much in Seattle, but in the desert it is a whole different story).  There will be newscasts warning about potential flooding and a weather alert will flash across your regular TV programs to alert you as well.
  • Something new:  this is the first time I have received an unsolicited weather-alert on my cell phone (see photo above) and it seemed like the alert was pinged off of the local towers because everyone in the poker room a couple days ago received the same alert.
  • Prepare your home for a storm just like you would do anywhere else.  If you know it will be windy and stormy, bring in (or tie down) the lawn furniture, lawn ornaments, deck chairs, garbage cans, etc. so they won't fly down the road.
  • Cut down dead or dying trees before storm season begins.  Some people didn't do this.
  • If the weatherman says there will be a storm, postpone your outdoor activities (like hiking or golf).  Lightening is nothing to mess with.
  • If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, take precautions ahead of time (like sandbagging, finding out where the closest shelter is that you can evacuate to, having your BOB ready to go at a moment's notice, etc).
  • These storms can also cut your electricity for either a short or long time; prepare accordingly.
  • Unplug your sensitive appliances (like TVs and computers) during an electrical storm.
These are basic, common sense rules which can often be forgotten in the middle of an exciting storm.  Yes, the water looks pretty, but yes, the force of less than a foot of fast moving water can knock you off your feet and carry you away.  Ditto for your car.

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