City website helps us prepare for storm season

Note: This column appears in the 6/26 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 6/27 issue of the Peoria Times

Last summer was the first summer my wife and I spent in the Valley, and thus, it was also our first experience with the famed Arizona Monsoon season. I think it hailed once. And one day it flooded a little. Other than that it was hotter than all hell. We were unimpressed.

Granted, I realize just how disruptive and destructive a monsoon can be. They are serious storms -- not to be messed with. And just because last summer may have been weak in the monsoon department doesn't mean that we citizens should not be prepared for some crazy weather this summer. Luckily for us, the city of Glendale has a plan to combat monsoons: the Internet. Yes, the city has created a webpage specifically dedicated to monsoon preparedness, which is cleverly and ominously entitled “Monsoon!!!” (Exclamation points are mine.) Subtitle: “Be prepared. Be cautious. Be Glendale Monsoon Ready.” If you have little to no common sense, or if you are an expert in Tucson monsoons but don’t feel Glendale monsoon ready, then this is the website for you!

First, a background on monsoons, courtesy of the site: the word monsoon itself comes from the Arabic word “mausim,” which translates to season. Therefore, it is a must that everyone be prepared, because it is, after all, Season season. Thanks a lot ancient Arabic peoples, for making us look stupid.

But how does one know when a monsoon is coming? Will we receive a letter? No, claims the website: Keep your eye on the sky. Darkening skies, flashes of light and increasing wind are all signs of a storm on the way. If you hear thunder, it’s best to head to safe area. Good stuff. Very helpful. The website, however, does not specify an example of a “safe area,” but I am going to assume that one safe area would be in your car, for a long drive. In order to escape the monsoon.

I am wrong.

Safety officials urge people to avoid driving during monsoon storms…

But what if we have to-

…sometimes it is inevitable.

Okay, good. Then what?

If a traffic light is not working, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

This is very important to keep in mind, mostly because it is in direct contradiction to Arizona law during non-monsoon time, which is: If a traffic light IS working, gun it.

Outta the way jerks! I have to get to my safe place!

This is all well and good, but there is still nothing in here about stopping a monsoon. This, I would assume, means that a monsoon is bound to hit. And when one does, the power might go out. What to do?!

Keep your freezer and refrigerator doors closed. This will maintain the cold air already built up inside and help protect your food.

This is another helpful piece of advice that is not only relevant during a power outage cause by a monsoon, but also during any occasion whatsoever in which you are not physically reaching into your refrigerator or freezer to take something out.


Switching off high-usage items like computers will help prevent overloading your system.

In other words, during a power outage caused by a monsoon, the last thing you should do is access the webpage about what to do during a power outage caused by a monsoon. It is better that you print these pages out beforehand and store them in the same safe place you will retreat to should you hear thunder.

Also, maybe you Glendale citizens can share your monsoon information with us folk from Peoria. We would also like to be Glendale Monsoon ready, in case we’re there, or something.

I know this seems like a lot to remember, but safety has to be a priority during extreme weather patterns. Besides, Monsoon season only lasts until September 15th, at which point we can all go back into our refrigerators.

But tonight is poker night! I think I can drive through that...


Bill said…
Great article Mike! Thanks to you, I am North Phoenix ready for Season Season. I'm still a little unclear on exactly when the season is upon us, however. When I first moved here it was 2 weeks in late July. Then it became 3-4 weeks, spilling into August. Now it's kinda all summer. I'm just going to err on the side of caution and make sure I'm in my Safe Place (both physically and emotionally) from January 12-December 8 from now on.