Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed June 14 to 19 Monsoon Awareness Week in Arizona in anticipation of the 2015 monsoon and summer severe weather hazards.
Historically, Arizona’s monsoon starts in late June and ends in mid-September. Monsoonal days are characterized by extreme heat and intense moisture, creating high humidity; the perfect recipe for thunderstorms that produce the kind of heavy rain, high winds and lightning that can cause flash flooding and dust storms and spark wildfires.
The extreme heat of summer can also be dangerous, even deadly. Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can hit anyone who is exposed to high temperatures for too long. People over 65 years old, children under five, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions and those who work outdoors are at high risk for heat-related illnesses. Limit exposure during peak hours and know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
“While the monsoon brings cooling rains, we need to be aware of its dangers,” said Wendy Smith-Reeve, Arizona Department of Emergency Management (DEMA) Deputy Director. “Severe monsoonal weather can cause serious personal injury and property damage.”
DEMA has partnered with the National Weather Service; the Arizona departments of Health Services, Homeland Security, Insurance, Public Safety, Transportation and Water Resources; and The Salvation Army to advocate preparedness before the “rainy season.” Arizonans are encouraged to take the following actions in preparation for the monsoon season:
Plan: Write a communication plan. The plan should identify a family meeting place, evacuation routes away from the house, and an out-of-town contact. Practice the plan with your family.
Prepare: Assemble an emergency supplies kit with enough non-perishable food and potable water to last your family, including pets, for 72 hours. Include a first aid kit, radio, flashlight, batteries, cash, cell phone charger, and copies of important documents.
Inquire: Know what hazards threaten your community. Ask your work and child’s school about their emergency plans. Bookmark EIN.az.gov for emergency updates and preparedness information.
Inspire: Be a preparedness example to your community. Give blood, learn first aid, volunteer, and talk to others about what you have learned about preparedness.