Monsoon Safety

Posted at 5:46 AM, Jun 08, 2009
and last updated 2021-05-26 16:16:50-04
When there’s lighting in the area, you never want to be outside. Inside your home is the safest place to be.

Stay away from your windows, stay off landline phones and away from video games. Electricity can travel through the cables and directly into your hands.

Make sure you don’t step into the shower, bathtub or swimming pool. Just avoid water all together. It’s a great conductor for electricity.

There are tens of thousands of lightning strikes during the monsoon and while a strike may not hit you directly, it can still have a strong enough charge to injure you, even if you’re far away from it.

Many people who are struck by lightning and survive say the sky was clear, which proves you don’t have to be directly beneath a storm to be struck.

People who have been struck by lightning will have entry and exit wounds on their bodies from where the lightning entered and escaped.

A safe rule to go by is the 30-30 Rule. If you see lightning and can’t count to 30 before hearing a clap of thunder, go inside and make sure to stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

You may also want to consider turning off your air conditioner at home during a storm.  Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

If you’re boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.  If you’re stuck outside, find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles, but make sure the place you pick isn’t prone to flash flooding.



Every year we see more deaths caused by flash flooding than any other severe weather event. That's because people underestimate the force and power of rushing water.

Next time it rains, remember it’s never a good idea to be anywhere near a flooded street, wash, or canal.  It’s tough to know how strong the current is, and the water depth can be deceiving too. People are washed away every summer.


Something else to keep in mind is that you don’t know the condition of a roadway once it becomes flooded.

Watch out for flooding in highway dips, bridges and low-lying areas. Nearly half of all flash flood deaths are related to rising waters.


If your vehicle becomes trapped by floodwaters, leave your vehicle immediately and seek higher ground if it is safe for you to do so.

There is a difference between a flash flood watch and a flash flood warning. A watch means flooding is possible, so be on alert. A warning means flooding is being reported in the area. 


Make sure you use common sense and find another way around the water or talk to your local police department.

Flash flooding will most likely occur during slow-moving thunderstorms. These floods can develop in a matter of minutes, or sometimes hours, depending on intensity and duration of a storm.

If you’re camping, don’t park along streams or washes, particularly during threatening weather conditions.

Remember, “turn around and don’t drown.”

As always, make sure to remember that “Stupid Motorist Law.”  It can cost you big time.

Dust storms are among the most violent and unpredictable weather phenomena.  In Arizona, they're most common between the months of June and September during our monsoon.

A dust storm, also called a haboob, will usually arrive suddenly in the form of a giant wall of dust that can be hundreds of miles long and several thousand feet high.  They can often strike with little warning, making driving conditions hazardous.  Nearly all dust storms are capable of causing property damage, injuries and death.

If you're ever caught driving in a dust storm, pull over to the side of the road as far as you can.  Use the painted centerline to help guide you.  Take your foot off the brake, turn off your engine and headlights and set the emergency brake. 

You should never stop on the traveled portion of the road. Drivers might think you're still moving and crash into you.

In situations with low visibility, it's easy to follow the car in front of you, but keep in mind that you don't know where they're headed.  Wait for the storm to pass and then head back out.  The low visibility of these storms can cause accidents that may involve chain collisions, creating massive pileups.

If you're driving during threatening weather conditions, listen to commercial radio for dust storm warnings.  A dust storm warning means visibility has been reduced to less than half a mile, with wind speeds of 30 mph or more.