5 Most Common Natural Disasters in Arizona
When people think of natural disasters, they may commonly think of hurricanes that mostly affect the southeast region of the United States. Or they may think of the Midwest and its moniker of “Tornado Alley.” There is also California and the frequency of earthquakes and wildfires.
In any case, Arizona is probably not one of the first states that comes to mind regarding natural disasters. But that is not to say Arizona does not experience its fair share of natural disasters.
From heat waves to flooding, continue reading to learn more about the most common natural disasters in Arizona and what to do if they happen.
1. Extreme Heat
Arizona is known for its dry heat. The low humidity makes the heat more tolerable, but the temperatures can still reach dangerously high levels and result in people suffering from severe medical conditions. Check out our blog on how to keep your house cool in a desert climate.
In the summer months, the temperature can be higher than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Such a high temperature commonly causes heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat syncope.
To protect yourself from extreme heat, limit your time outside and in the sun and make sure you wear sunscreen if you will be going out. Do not wear too much clothing, and consider wearing looser, light-colored items.
When the weather conditions are hot and dry, the potential for wildfires is high. Arizona is known to have a climate very suitable for wildfires, so it is no surprise they are one of the most common natural disasters in the state.
Wildfires can start after a lightning strike in the wilderness of a hot, dry climate. However, wildfires can also be started due to human actions, including both accidental and intentional events.
Regardless of how a wildfire started, it can spread easily and cause significant harm. They threaten people’s livelihoods and properties and can be damaging to nature and the environment. Wildfires can hinder the food supply for wild animals and eventually result in landslides and soil erosion.
3. Dust Storms
When there are thunderstorms, they can often result in the formation of tornadoes, straight line winds, and downbursts. Any of these winds can then produce dust storms.
Dust storms often occur without warning, so it can be tough to prepare for such a disaster. The excessive dust present drastically reduces visibility, so it is best to remain indoors. If you are out and driving when a dust storm hits, pull over and remain stagnant until the storm passes. Trying to drive with such poor visibility can easily lead to car accidents.
At home, make sure all doors and windows are closed, and refrain from using your HVAC system until the storm has passed.
A monsoon refers to the seasonal change of wind direction. It may sound harmless, but this change in wind direction changes the climate and moisture levels, leading to monsoon storms. Monsoon season often brings about severe thunderstorms. These thunderstorms can then cause hazardous events of their own: lightning, strong winds, flooding, and dust storms.
In Arizona, monsoon season tends to last from June to September, so be wary of the potential for such disasters during that time of the year.
Knowing this, it is especially important to be safe by avoiding the outdoors and staying inside. If you are out driving, pull over or park, and do not get back out on the road until the storm has passed. If you are outside with nowhere to take shelter, avoid open fields and tall objects like trees. Stay low but never lie flat on the ground. Additionally, keep your distance from water and metal items.
If you are indoors, stay away from exterior doors and windows as well as electrical appliances. Refrain from using any plumbing if possible; lightning strikes can cause plumbing to conduct electricity.
Arizona is generally a dry area that sees little precipitation, but that does not mean the state is immune to flooding. In fact, flooding can occur due to three kinds of storms: summer monsoons, winter rainstorms, and tropical storm remnants. The combination of heavy rainfall and poor exterior design can easily lead to localized flooding.
There can also be flash floods if a significant amount of rainfall occurs in a short amount of time. Flash floods affects low areas and usually do not last long.
Flood damage is rarely covered by typical homeowners’ insurance, so it is important that you consider purchasing additional coverage for flooding if you do live in a flood-prone area.
When flooding is a threat, stay off the ground level and move to a higher floor. If you have time beforehand, bring inside furniture and other items. Move important materials to higher floors as well. Avoid going into the floodwater, moving or standing, whether you are walking or driving.
Professional Water Damage Restoration Help
If you find that your home or property has suffered storm damage due to a rainstorm, monsoon, or other storm, then it is imperative that you seek help right away. Water causes damage quickly and it will only spread and worsen with time. That said, the sooner your building undergoes restoration services, the less damage it will experience.
ServiceMaster EMT can provide flood damage restoration through our professional water damage restoration services. Our qualified technicians will extract the excess water and moisture from your home, thoroughly dry out the property, and restore the affected areas.