Monsoon Safety

Be Monsoon Ready!

When Is Monsoon?

Officially, the monsoon starts on June 15th and ends on September 30th. The storms often develop in the late afternoon and early evening.

What Is a Monsoon?

If you’re in the Valley between the months of June and September, you’re pretty much guaranteed to experience the powerful winds, towering clouds and awesome lightning and thunder of an Arizona monsoon storm.

According to the National Weather Service, the word monsoon itself comes from the Arabic word “mausim,” which translates to season. Early sailors in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea used the word to describe the powerful winds that switched directions during the summer months.

In Arizona, the dry, warm months of May and June are followed by greater moisture beginning as early as June 15 and often lasting through the middle of September. This moisture tends to build throughout each day and settle into the Valley with heavy winds, bursts of rain and lightning. Our dry lands aren’t prepared for the heavy water flow that comes from the storms, so Valley washes and streets are often flooded—and flooded fast!

Arizona’s Monsoon season brings with it the daily potential for high winds, lightning, hail and heavy bursts of rain, and these potential hazards can be life threatening if proper care is not taken. 

What to Look for:

  • Keep your eye on the sky. Darkening skies, flashes of light and increasing wind are all signs of a storm on the way. If you hear thunder, it’s best to head to a safe area.

  • Heavy rain can cause problems. If it has been raining hard for several hours, be alert to the possibility of a flood. Try to avoid driving during a storm.

  • Thunder means a storm is near. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

  • Watch your forecasts. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or local news for the latest weather forecasts.

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