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Watch for powerful, dangerous storms in monsoon season

Posted 6/23/21

Monsoon season officially started June 15, but powerful and dangerous storms can develop at any time.

Some areas within the city and surrounding areas are prone to flooding, including washes, …

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News

Watch for powerful, dangerous storms in monsoon season

Posted

Monsoon season officially started June 15, but powerful and dangerous storms can develop at any time.

Some areas within the city and surrounding areas are prone to flooding, including washes, streets and neighborhoods that are in low lying areas, according to a release.

“It’s anyone’s guess what the monsoon may bring for storms this year,” Shane Kiesow, public works manager for the city of Apache Junction, said. “Either way, wet or dry, I would encourage everyone to keep as much debris and vegetation out of any drainage channel or wash that may run along or through one’s property. This will help against downstream culverts from plugging up during any storm, and second, a cleaner wash will make for less fuel for any wildfires that often like the more dense vegetation in and along washes,” he said.

Flooding remains one of the most common causes of weather-related deaths in the U.S., Rick Ochs, public information officer of the Superstition Fire and Medical District, said.

“Most people greatly underestimate the power of moving water, and do not realize that they can drown if they try to drive or walk through it,” he said.

“It is also important to know that washes can continue to run heavily for extended periods of time after rain has subsided due to run-off from the nearby mountains. Driving through flooded washes not only places our citizens at risk, but also the first-responders who may be called to perform a water rescue. These types of rescues are very dangerous to everyone involved due to the fast moving water and unknown hazards which lay beneath. Our crews are highly trained and very capable to perform water rescues, but avoiding the dangers of swift moving water and not becoming a victim is the best way for citizens to assure their own safety,” Ochs said.

The city of Apache Junction will alert the community of road closures during the monsoon season. Some tips to remember are:

  • Avoid all water crossings
  • Flash floods can begin and end very quickly.
  • Never drive through flooded roadways.
  • Do not drive around barricades, which is illegal and dangerous.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and stalling.
  • Moving water one to two feet deep will carry away most vehicles.
  • Be especially cautious at night when road flooding and water crossings are especially difficult to see.

In the event of heavy rains and potential flooding, the city of Apache Junction and SFMD provide free sandbags to area residents. Citizens need to bring necessary tools to fill their own bags and arrange pickup and delivery. The sand bins and bags would be available around the clock at the locations listed below:

  • Fire Station 261, 1135 W. Superstition Blvd., Apache Junction;
  • Fire Station 262, 3955 W. Superstition Blvd., Apache Junction; and
  • Fire Station 264, 7557 E. U.S. Highway 60, Gold Canyon.

Additionally, the monsoon season brings with it the chance for microbursts, strong winds, lightning and risk of power outages. You can better prepare for these types of incidents by:

  • Securing objects ahead of time to prevent them from blowing away.
  • Trimming potentially damaging trees or tree limbs.
  • Remember that no place outside is safe from lightning during a thunderstorm.
  • Preparing a 72-hour emergency supply kit with plenty of water and non-perishable food to last three days without electrical power, which may affect running water.

To reach the city of Apache Junction Public Works Department, call (480) 982-1055.

SFMD can be reached at 480-982-4440 or go to sfmd.az.gov.

For more information on monsoon safety, go to monsoonsafety.org. Also, go to the Arizona Emergency Information Network at EIN.az.gov for official emergency updates, preparedness and hazard information and multimedia resources.

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