You might think that we don't get serious weather in Arizona, but you'll know we do after you have experienced your first Arizona monsoon storm. They can be dangerous, so here is how you know you're in one and what to do.
Time Required: Not too long
- To avoid being struck by lightning, do not stand near trees or tall poles. Stay in your home or vehicle if possible.
- Avoid areas that are prone to flooding. The rains come swiftly and heavily.
- Do not use a telephone.
- Avoid large farm equipment, golf carts or other large metal equipment.
- Dust devils are also associated with monsoons. Try to avoid getting caught in one.
- Visibility can be near zero when monsoon thunderstorms are raging. If driving in a dangerous storm, find somewhere to safely park your car.
- If you pull over in your car to the side of the road, do not leave your lights on. Drivers with little or no visibility behind you may think you are still on the road and follow you. Smack!
- Arizona rarely experiences tornadoes. You might see a microburst now and then. They, too, are scary.
- If you are outside hiking or camping, be aware of quick wind shifts, quick cooling of temperature and increasing wind velocity. These are signals for thunderstorm activity.
- If you are on a boat, get to land.
- Do not huddle closely together with other people. Spread out.
- Avoid wide open areas.
- If your hair starts to stand on end, that is a sign of electricity and you may be about to be struck by lightning. Drop to your knees and cover your head.
- Monsoon is caused by a combination of heat and moisture. Technically, Arizona is said to be in "monsoon" when we have had more than three consecutive days of dew points above 55 degrees. In order to avoid the guesswork, beginning in 2008 June 15 is the first day of monsoon, and September 30 is the last day.
- Monsoon thunderstorms normally occur in July and August.
- The temperature is usually around 105 degrees during monsoon season.
- Sign up for the About Phoenix Desert Heat E-Course, and learn more about coping with heat in the desert. It's free!