Phoenix monsoon: 5 things to watch for to monsoon-proof home, car

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 07:59:22-04

Temperatures across the Valley are continuing to rise and by next Tuesday it's expected to hit 120 degrees.

But, while the skies are sunny it is important to note Thursday is the start of Monsoon 2017.

Those bright skies can turn dark really quickly and residents can easily find themselves trapped in their cars when the downpour strikes.

"During monsoon storms, we get a drastic uptick in automobile accidents," explained Captain Ken Hall with the Mesa Fire Department.

The Mesa Fire Department agreed to show ABC15 steps that should be taken to protect homes and garages during the heavy storms.

They say, instead of "driver error" being the issue of accidents, it's often that the driver just is not prepared.

The first thing to check are your vehicle's tires.

"If you're missing this tread and it's completely smooth, or you see any bands in there," Captain Hall cited as issues. "Like strings or steel belts or anything that doesn't look like a nice healthy tire — take it to a tire shop."

Without tread, your tires become like ice skates on a non-frozen lake and it could cause you to hydroplane, even if you are not speeding.

Captain Hall tells us, the next big piece of your car that needs a check would be your windshield wipers.

The rubber needs to be intact and pliable. A good way to find out if your wipers are working properly is to pour some water on the windshield and let the wipers run. If it is not clearing the water away effectively, replace them or take them to a professional for their expertise.

Captain Hall highlights visibility being a big factor in crashes and after that, you are pretty much like a sitting duck while you are waiting for help.

"There's typically limited visibility due to the high rains and the high winds, so it puts you at a high risk for a secondary collision," he said.

Next up, Captain Hall said homeowners must look at their storm drains.

"If a drain system becomes plugged, that flat roof area...can turn into a water retention area that can hold several thousand pounds of water," Captain Hall explained.

It is like a swimming pool that is waiting for one cannonball that knocks down the whole roof.

And Captain Hall said it is important to check even if it does not look like it is clogged up.

"There's always the potential for some sort of critter; a bird or something like that to have nested in the plumbing system that you may not even see," Captain Hall explained.

Next up on the check list are downed trees.

"When those winds kick-up, it kind of can overwhelm the tree and break the branch," Captain Hall warned.

The winds can swipe up pieces of the tree, or even uproot it completely. From there, it can hit your home, your car or someone else's property.

Those trees can also spark something much worse.

"We also get calls for trees that will strike power lines because they're too close or overgrown," Captain Hall said. "And often times they'll spark... and the power lines will start to spark, so people will call 911 for that."

Another possible fire-starter? Palm trees. They tower over the Valley and hold on to dead palm fronds if not properly maintained, which can make for a fireball if and when lightning strikes.

Overall, Mesa Fire hopes you will take their tips, so they do not have to come out and fix preventable problems when there are other more serious emergencies happening in the Valley during the height of the storm. But, they always encourage to call them for help if ever you need it.