Two sides to one coin; the heat and the storm

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley N. Steffen
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The sky starts to darken as clouds roll in overhead. Sweltering heat drops to a seemingly bearable temperature. The smell of rain drifts on the desert wind. Finally a blinding flash and sonic boom is released to signal the beginning of a desert storm.

Like two sides of a coin, Arizona offers over 100 degree weather, as well as, hurricane like storms called monsoons.

These wonderfully, beautiful storms create a show of lightning across the sky and unleash winds powerful enough to rip off rooftops and flip over F-16s. The storms are gorgeously dangerous.

One of the biggest dangers that come with monsoon season is flash flooding. These spontaneous floods can carry away heavy vehicles and submerge most average sized cars, trapping passengers.

"The soil here is so hard that when it rains, the ground can't soak in the extra water, so it builds up and can cause flooding," said Staff Sgt. Antwoine L. Giles, 355th Fighter Wing occupational and health safety inspector.

These floods can hit anywhere: old washes, road ways and parking lots.

"It is vital that you don't try to cross an area that is flooded, either via vehicle or walking," said Airman 1st Class Lucas S. Stone, 355th Civil Engineering Squadron fire protection apprentice. "A few inches of moving water can push a vehicle off of a road."

If a driver enters an area that is flooded and needs rescuing they can be punished under Arizona's Stupid Motorist Law, which states they will have to pay for their own rescue.

The water is not the only thing to look out for. Inexperienced drivers, slick oils newly wet from rain, and debris from high winds, are all hazards that can come with monsoons.

"The wind can blow around debris and cause damage to homes, vehicles and people," Lucas said. "The wind can cause power lines to break; these lines can still be charged and highly dangerous."