Surviving the Southwest Summer Part 3: The Monsoon

By
Real Estate Agent with Las Cruces Homes and Land

From one extreme to the other - flooding.

During the summer months - July and August - the southwest experiences the Monsoon Season.  A monsoon is when weather patterns shift, bringing moisure in from large bodies of water.  Here in the southwest, that moisture usually comes from the Gulf of Mexico.

Monsoon storms can drop immense amounts of water in minutes, creating flash flooding.  Dry washes can become raging rivers from storms that happen miles away.

Dangerous situations arise when people think they can drive through a 'small trickle' of water.  What they don't realize is that the currents accompanying that 'trickle' can sweep their car away with them in it.  Many times, I've seen news footage of people having to be rescued from their cars because they didn't realize the danger.  The slogan in the southwest is "Turn Around, Don't Drown."

Streets turn into rivers very quickly as well. 

Note the height warning sign on the bridge - 13 ft, 6 in.
By the way - this is the route I take to downtown Tucson every morning

There are a few tips to keep in mind as a new Southwest resident when it comes to the monsoon season:

*Listen carefully to weather reports - keep track online or on your smart phone.  Check your route to see if any of the streets you take are flooded. If they are, find another way.

*Know the terms associated with floods and flash floods.

  • Flood Watch Flooding is possible. Tune into NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television.
  • Flash Flood Watch Flash floods are possible. Be prepared to move quickly to higher ground. Listen to radio or television for information.
  • Flood Warning Flooding is occurring or will occur soon. Evacuate immediately if told to do so.
  • Flash Flood Warning A flash flood is occurring. Move to higher ground immediately on foot.

* 6 inches of water in a depression can be dangerous - it can knock you down.  If you come across a small stream, do not risk it.  Turn around.  You don't know how much water is heading your way.

*Streets will flood and it doesn't matter what kind of street it is - main artery, side road, residential street. Learn where the floods happen in your neighborhood.  A big tip is to make note of where the city puts out their portable flooding signs.


The bottom line is this:  the monsoon is a sure thing as is the flooding that will happen.  When you are looking to purchase a home, double check with your agent to confirm whether or not you are in a flood prone area.  Your new home might be in the middle of the dry desert but when the rains come, you don't want to suffer the wrath of Mother Nature:

Yes, this is an Arizona home.

Comments (1)

Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

Those poor people! I can remember flash floods from when I was a little girl. They can be very scary and devastating.

Jun 24, 2011 03:40 PM

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