Newcomers to our region are often bemused by the “Do Not Enter When Flooded” signs oddly posted in the middle of the bone-dry desert. However, those who’ve experienced an Arizona summer know that these signs are no laughing matter when the combination of driving monsoon rains and wind and hardened caliche layers lead to heavy run-off and flooding.
The Arizona Monsoon Season arrives mid-June and generally lasts until the end of September. While the rain it brings provides a welcome respite from the summer heat, the storms can prove disastrous for the ill-prepared. Better to handle potential problem areas now and save money on larger home repairs down the road.
Check your Roof
Because no one wants to wake up to the drip, drip of a leaky roof, it’s advisable to have your roof inspected annually by a licensed roofing contractor. Most area roofers will provide a free inspection. Although concrete tiles are among the most durable and water-resistant of roof coverings, they are not watertight.
A reputable, licensed roofer will check for cracked and slipped or missing tiles, along with any gaps or cracks around flashings or deterioration of the underlayment. Any defects can make the roof vulnerable to strong rains and winds. The simple and relatively inexpensive repair of sealing or replacing a few cracked tiles can avoid far costlier repairs down the road and extend the lifespan of your roof.
Evaluate your Home’s Drainage
If you’ve noticed pooling of water in your yard during a rainstorm, make sure to take care of the issue before the Monsoon begins. A professional landscaper can provide drainage solutions to keep your yard and home protected against possible flooding. Adding pavers or solid surface over the dirt in your yard can help prevent flooding.
Don’t forget to clean out debris from rain gutters and downspouts to avoid ponding on flat areas and in valleys of sloped roofs and to divert downpours away from your home’s foundation. If you don’t have these, consider installing rain gutters. Since roof and gutter repair can often be a package deal, you could have your local roofing contractor check the gutters during their visit.
Trim Trees and Prep Plants
Trim any unwieldy branches on larger trees that could potentially snap off and do damage. Reducing branches limits wind resistance so that strong monsoon winds can pass through, saving the tree from uprooting. Be sure to stake any smaller trees to withstand strong winds and rain. Prune palm trees that have browned as these can become kindling if lightening strikes.
Evade Electrical Damage
Familiarize yourself with your electrical panel ahead of time. Ensure that rooms are clearly marked and identify the circuit breaker so you can find it easily in the dark should there be a power surge. Add surge protector strips to outlets used for powering electronics. You may even have an electrician install a master surge protector to protect every motor in your home from appliances to your air-conditioning.
Clean out the Garage
Now is the perfect time to get to work on clearing out the clutter in your garage to make way for your cars. Since parking your car outside may leave it vulnerable to flying branches, falling trees or runaway umbrellas, as well as hail, rain and winds, best to park it inside.
Clear your Yard
Prepare the outside of your home by securing pillows, cushions, umbrellas, gazebos and anything else that a monsoon storm could turn into a flying projectile. Warn your neighbors to do likewise.
Caulk cracks and gaps around the house and on the roof. Use weather stripping for windows and doors and gap filler near the foundation and on stucco to prevent against water seepage and potential issues with mold and mildew.
Replace Air Filter after Storms
Changing your air-conditioning filters is a recommended monthly chore, especially during the monsoon season. Because dust storms are frequent during the Arizona summertime, you may consider replacing your disposable filter with a washable electrostatic filter.
With a little advance preparation, you can sit back and enjoy the spectacular showy skies and cooler temps the Monsoon delivers and the perfume of soaked creosote bushes that is the distinctive scent of our Sonoran desert rain.
Oh, and about those “Do Not Enter When Flooded Signs"; be aware that, since 1995, Arizona has upheld what is commonly known as the Stupid Motorist Law. If you do not heed warning signs and barricades, you may be held financially responsible for your rescue!