PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer has proclaimed June 9-14 Monsoon Awareness Week in Arizona in anticipation of the 2013 monsoon and summer severe weather hazards.
Monsoon season begins in mid-June, extends through late September, and is characterized by the familiar afternoon thunderstorms that produce lightning, high winds and heavy rains. Given the right conditions, a monsoon thunderstorm can cause localized flash flooding and/or dust storms.
“While most of us delight in the soaking rains that are synonymous with the monsoon,” said Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) Director Wendy Smith-Reeve, “the season is also full of severe weather dangers that can damage property and threaten the safety of Arizonans.”
ADEM has partnered with the National Weather Service; the Arizona departments of Health Services, Insurance, Public Safety, Transportation and Water Resources; and the Salvation Army to advocate preparedness before the “rainy season.” We urge Arizonans to take the following actions in preparation for the monsoon season:
Plan: Write communication and evacuation plans that identify a family meeting place, account for special needs and the family pet, and include an out-of-town contact. Practice your plan.
Prepare: Set aside enough non-perishable food and potable water to sustain your family for 72 hours. Suggested kit items include first aid supplies, a radio, batteries and a flashlight. Pack a smaller “go kit” with copies of important documents, cash and a phone charger for evacuations.
Inquire: Know the threats to your community. Ask your child’s school about their emergency plans. Bookmark www.AzEIN.gov as an Internet favorite for emergency updates and preparedness information.
Inspire: Motivate others. Be a preparedness example by learning basic first aid, joining a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and/or talking to friends, family and coworkers about emergency preparedness. Better yet, take a friend or family member along to that first aid or CPR class.
Because the monsoon spans the hottest months of the Arizona summer, it is also important to know the symptoms of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and to limit exposure to extreme heat. People over 65 years old, children under 5, persons with a pre-existing medical condition, and individuals who work outside or recreate outdoors during the hottest hours of the day are at a higher risk for heat-related illness.
Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) at www.AzEIN.gov for preparedness tips, information on Arizona hazards and emergency updates.
There are also apps available for your iPhone or Android that will send you critical alerts whenever major weather events strike in your exact location.