BUCKEYE, Ariz. - Just when it seems like the Phoenix area is cleaned up and dried out following one monsoon storm, another came through the area.
On Aug. 17, heavy rains and strong winds uprooted several trees in one Buckeye neighborhood.
"The microburst was crazy," said Stephanie Swann, who lives in the Verrado area of Buckeye. "I was talking to some people, and they said 'was that a tornado?' I said 'I don't think so.'"
While the outdoors were littered with toppled trees, stormwater made its way indoors at some homes.
"The wind was blowing so hard, it was hitting the windows straight on and coming through the windowsill," said Swann. "We were putting towels around. It was quite a storm."
Residents bracing for next storm
Much of the debris was cleared away on Aug. 18, but in the back of their minds, residents are concerned about having to go through it all over again, as a monsoon storm that is expected to hit the Phoenix area on Aug. 19 could be the strongest storm of the season.
In Scottsdale, crews with utility company APS repaired downed lines, and replaced them with eight steel poles. For 2022, the company added a meteorologist to their staff, in order to better anticipate when and where there might be problems.
"Providing us local and regional forecasts and a lot of real-time information, so we can build a strategy to be in the best position to respond," said Jeff Spohn with APS. "We definitely do dispatch resources ahead of time in anticipation of a weather impact."
Along with APS, local fire departments, utility workers, emergency management officials, and ADOT crews are all standing by, ready to respond if and when Mother Nature causes an emergency.
In the meantime, officials are reminding residents to be prepared in case of a power outage: make sure you have a charged cell phone, non-perishable food, and water. Also, drivers are warned not to drive into floodwaters.
Satellite and radar image
Rain/flood safety tips
The American Red Cross' tips for heavy rain situations and flood safety:
- Turn around don’t drown! If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.
- If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
- Tune in to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channels for the latest updates.
- If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly.
- Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe.
- If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame as alternate lighting.
Preparing for a severe thunderstorm
The American Red Cross' tips for preparing for a severe thunderstorm:
- Put together an emergency kit.
- Know your community’s evacuation plan.
- Create a household disaster plan and practice it.
- Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Discuss thunderstorm safety with members of your household. Be aware that a thunderstorm could produce flooding.
- Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors, which could be broken by strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.
Be prepared and stay safe during the monsoon
"Most Valley residents know how quickly and furiously storms can move in and out, bringing strong winds, dust, rain, and flash flooding. These storms can cause interruptions in services, such as water, power, and gas," stated Captain Ashley Losch of the Glendale Fire Department.
GFD reminds residents of ways they can be prepared and stay safe:
- Have flashlights with extra batteries on hand.
- Have food that can be prepared without the need for cooking or refrigeration.
- Have at least one gallon of clean water for each person in the household.
- Have backup power for anyone requiring power for a medical device.
- Have backup power for cell phones that do not require charging.
- Have a first aid kit ready and accessible.
- Never drive into areas with flowing water; it takes less than 10 inches to wash a car away.
- Avoid flooded areas, such as washes.
- If waters are rising, seek higher ground.
- Do not approach downed power lines, the ground can be energized for up to 200 feet.
- Keep pets indoors during storms.