During Arizona monsoon season, thunderstorms can be especially treacherous. From June 15 through September 30, every year, violent storms can lead to mud/rockslides, flash floods, and forest fires. In addition to damage from heavy waters, lightning by itself can be very destructive. According to the NOAA, lightning on average kills two people per year in Arizona and injures dozens more. By being prepared for these situations, you can reduce your risks and help ensure the safety of you and your family.
Before a Thunderstorm
- Check your family communications plan.
- Familiarize yourself with the difference between a thunderstorm watch and a thunderstorm warning. Note, a severe thunderstorm refers to a thunderstorm producing winds of 58 mph or greater, 1-inch (quarter) sized hail or larger, and/or a tornado. Although lightning can be deadly, severe thunderstorm watches and warnings are not issued specifically for lightning.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches, or other objects tied to RVs or campers, that could fall and cause injury or damage during a thunderstorm.
- If thunderstorms are expected in your area, postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
During a Thunderstorm
- If you hear thunder or see lightning, go indoors and stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
- Thunderstorms can cause power outages, so keep a battery-powered radio and charged cell phone available. Use apps, social media, or radio to stay informed.
- Avoid taking a shower or a bath during a thunderstorm. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Do not use electrical items such as computers or television sets, as power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Tall, isolated trees in an open area.
- Hilltops, open fields, a pool, a boat, isolated sheds, or other small structures in open areas.
- Anything metal — flagpoles, tractors, farm equipment, campers, ATVs, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
After a Thunderstorm
- Do not attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. Vehicles can be swept away in just 1 foot of standing water.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas and downed power lines. Report hazards immediately to your local power company.