Monsoon season is infamous in Arizona. Between the intense 5-minute rain showers to the roaring thunderstorms, there is no wonder why Arizonans love this time of the year. However, because of the spontaneity of monsoon on top of the fact that Arizona receives only 12.5 inches a year, it’s important to be prepared when this season begins.
For Your Car
Yes, even though it is raining out you still need to bring water with you, especially for long drives. You never know when a sudden storm could strand you for a couple of hours.
Who doesn’t want snacks while they wait for a storm to pass? Necessity? Maybe no. But why not?
One should already be in your car, but flashlights are imperatively important to have in your glove box.
Monsoon storms in Arizona are rarely mere drizzles. They are sudden, intense, and even scary. It could be dry on the road one minute and completely flooded the next. For these reasons, it’s important to drive with extra care during a rainstorm.
Make sure you only go the speed limit but also understand other drivers may be driving slower while others much faster. The important thing is to drive defensively, making sure you feel comfortable on the road. If that means slower, go slower. People can pass if they need to.
Lights and Wipers
Additionally, make sure your headlights are on (not your high beams) and your windshield wipers are good to go. It may be smart to replace them soon since we’ve not had rain in a good while.
Tires and Breaks
Tires and breaks are also important to keep track of before monsoon. Make sure you have plenty of tread on your tires and your breaks are up to par. Remember that good tread and breaks are essential to stopping the car as quickly as possible if the need arises.
We’ve all likely heard of hydroplaning. Essentially and unscientifically, this is when your tires and vehicle glide over the tops of puddles on the road like ice. This is extremely dangerous and can cause your vehicle to spin out of control. When this happens, it is important NOT to break but to simply let off the gas. This will slow your car enough to interrupt the hydroplaning.
Hiking during monsoon season can be very dangerous. As a rule, DO NOT hike in washes or gullies during monsoon. Flash flooding is a very real danger and kills multiple people in Arizona every year.
Further, be aware of your surroundings while hiking or any other outdoor activities. Did you cross through a wash? Are you in a depression? Is there a potential mudslide area nearby? All of these are potential threats.
Does this mean to close yourself in, terrified to leave your house all monsoon? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Go out and enjoy this once a year experience! Just be aware of your surroundings and be prepared. Most importantly, have fun!
Author: B. Delamater