Storms and Monsoons

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​​Storms and Monsoon Information

In the event that the City of Phoenix and surrounding cities experience severe thunderstorms, microbursts and lightning, citizens should be aware of the following information for their safety:

In extreme emergencies, citizens who are in danger should dial 9-1-1.

In the case of power outages, contact your utility c​ompany. SRP can be reached at 602-236-8888 or APS at 602-371-7171.

For more information, please visit our Emergency Contacts list.

What to do when a storm approaches:

If indoors:

1. Secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture that could blow away or cause damage or injury.

2. Shutter windows securely and brace outside doors.

3. In the event of a power outage, listen to a battery operated radio or television for the latest storm information. If you have access to cable, Channel 11 may post warnings and other storm-related information as well.

4. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Use phones only in emergency.

5. Do not take a bath or shower during a storm. Do not go swimming during a storm.

6. Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors. 

If outdoors:

1. Find shelter in a building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds or under isolated trees. 

2. If you're unable to find shelter, go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects and crouch with hands on knees. Do not lie flat on the ground.

3. Stay out of pools and away from water.

4. Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible. Once flooding begins, abandon cars and climb to higher ground. Do not attempt to drive to safety. Most flash flood deaths occur in automobiles.

If in a car:

1. Pull safely onto the shoulder of the road away from any trees that could fall on the vehicle.

2. Stay in the car and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rains subside.

3. Obey all traffic warning signs and avoid flooded roadways. 

Banner: Flooding? Be safe! Turn around, do not drown.

​Keep Your Trees Safe from Heavy Winds

​Trees not properly maintained before hazardous winds strike can become hazards to people, homes and vehicles. The University of Arizona provides an information guide about how to prune and trim trees to prevent this. ​The Pruning Deciduous Shade Trees is available online.

Over watering trees can cause the soil to become unstable, allowing them to easily topple under heavy winds. Learn about how much water your tree needs so they do not become susceptible to falling over. The City of Phoenix has literature to help concerned citizens use the appropriate amount of water. Visit the Water Resources and Conservation Office's literature order page to get more information.

​​​​​Monsoon Preparedness

Each year, a variety of weather related dangers affect Arizona, New Mexico and southwest Texas, especially from late spring into early autumn. Through a collaborative effort between National Weather Service offices serving the states of Arizona and New Mexico, which includes offices located in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, El Paso/Santa Teresa and Midland/Odessa, the time period from June 15th through September 30th has been defined as "The Monsoon." 

A period of extreme heat is typically ongoing at its onset, which in the coming days or weeks is followed by an influx of moisture leading to daily rounds of thunderstorms. The heat is deadly in its own right, causing dozens of deaths in Arizona each year. In addition, thunderstorms present an array of hazards which often strike suddenly and with violent force. 

In Arizona and New Mexico, lightning strikes, high winds, wildfires, tornadoes, flash flooding and extreme heat have caused an average of 10 deaths and 60 injuries along with tens of millions of dollars of damage each year since 1995.  Road closures, as well as power and communication outages are additional consequences of monsoon weather hazards. 

Monsoon Safety Awareness Week is held each year with the goal to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and property damage caused by weather related dangers that occur during the monsoon. Through education about proper precautionary actions to be taken, lives can be saved and property losses can be minimized. Learn more about Monsoon Safety Awareness.

Warning Information for Monsoon Season

Armed with Doppler radars, powerful supercomputers, advanced weather satellites, automated weather and stream gages, and an advanced lightning detection network, forecasters at the National Weather Service are able to provide highly accurate severe weather warnings.

Advanced National Weather Service computer systems now allow warnings to be generated in seconds for highly detailed areas. Those warnings are then transmitted to the public, the media and emergency management officials via NOAA Weather Radio, the Emergency Alert System, and the Internet.

Television meteorologists play critical roles in the warning process. They relay National Weather Service warnings to the public and provide additional detail about the storms, what they are doing and where they are going. 

Weather Terminology — Understanding Watches, Warnings, and Advisories

  • Watches mean that widespread severe weather is possible.
  • Warnings (Severe Thunderstorm, Flash Flood, Dust Storm, or in rare cases, Tornado) mean that life-threatening weather is about to occur, or has been reported. Take action immediately.
  • Flood Advisories mean heavy rains will cause minor flooding of washes, streams, and typical flood-prone areas. Flooding in this situation is usually not serious. If the flooding does become life threatening, then the flood advisory is upgraded to a Flash Flood Warning.

Locations in Phoenix where you can get sand to fill up your sandbags

Warnings are not issued for lightning, mainly because most thunderstorms, no matter how weak, produce deadly cloud-to-ground lightning.

The Office of Emergency Management coordinates the response and recovery activities for the city during a natural disaster.