Winter months in Arizona provide a variety of activities with temperatures that can range from freezing in the mountains to warm temperatures in the desert. Residents and winter visitors alike are on the road and headed for their next destination. Arizona roads take a beating from the summer heat and the winter cold. So be prepared before you head out on the highway. It is important to know what the weather will do so you can be prepared to deal with the changes in temperature as you travel to your destination.
The best way to avoid lightning, flash floods, and other dangerous conditions is by not being in danger in the first place. Many ways are available to gain weather information including:
- Watching current weather forecasts on TV or the Internet
- Listening to weather reports on the radio or a NOAA weather radio
- Subscribing to lightning and severe weather notification services
- Scanning the skies 360 degrees around and overhead before leaving a safe location
Disaster Supply Kit Contents
Every family should prepare a family disaster supply kit in the event of severe weather conditions. The disaster supply kit should contain essential items such as food, water, and sturdy clothing; to sustain a family for up to three days since electric power, gas and water services may be interrupted.
- Three gallons of water in clean, closed containers for each person and pet
- First aid kit
- A stock of food that requires no cooking or refrigeration
- Portable and working battery-operated radio, flashlights, and extra batteries
(Candles and oil lamps are fire hazards)
- Necessary medications
- Back-up power source for life support or other medical equipment that requires electricity to function
Weather Terminology — Understanding Watches, Warnings, and Advisories
- Watches mean that widespread severe weather is possible.
- A watch means that severe weather has not occurred yet, but weather conditions are becoming highly volatile. Pay close attention to the weather, and tune into TV, radio, or NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts frequently.
- 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.
Warnings are not issued for lightning, mainly because most thunderstorms, no matter how weak, produce deadly cloud-to-ground lightning.
Rain, Lightning, High Winds, Dust Storms
Do you understand the challenges of living with limited water resources, diversity of severe weather, extreme heat, high winds and flooding that occurs in Arizona?
Each year, Southern Arizonans experience a variety of weather related dangers, 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."
In Arizona, lightning strikes, high winds, tornadoes, and flash flooding have caused an average of five deaths, 27 injuries, and $66 million in property damage every year since 1995. Road closures, power and communication outages and wildfires are additional consequences of monsoon weather hazards experienced by Southern Arizonans each year. Arizonans experience a variety of dangers caused by thunderstorms including: Flash Floods, Power and Communication Outages, Lightning, and Damaging Winds.
The goal of Monsoon Safety Awareness is to reduce the number of injuries, deaths and property damage caused by thunderstorms by educating Arizonans about weather related dangers that occur during the monsoon and the precautions they can take to protect themselves and minimize property damage. Learn more about what you can do to prepare for Monsoon Season in the southwestern United States, and be ready.
Cold, Ice, Snow, Wind Chill, and (sometimes) Fog
Winter weather too often catches people unprepared. Researchers say that 70 percent of the fatalities related to ice and snow occur in automobiles, and about 25 percent of all winter-related fatalities are people caught off guard, out in the storm. What winter weather preparations are being made in your area and what are the appropriate steps to take that will ensure your winter weather safety? Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.