Living in Arizona, you may think more about the scalding sun than monsoons. However, our summer doesn’t just mean extreme heat; it comes with a changing weather pattern leading to our monsoon season. Monsoons can bring much-needed rain to our notoriously dry climate but can also cause severe damage to your building and its roof. High winds, hail, lightning, and flash floods are common dangers during monsoon season.
Severe storms, including Arizona’s common dust storms, threaten roofs, causing significant destruction under torrential rain and heavy winds. Debris caught in the wind can fall on your roof, dislodging shingles and other roofing materials, exposing it to rain and more debris. Heavy rains can also cause damage over time, leading to wood rot and other problems. While not part of every storm, hail can significantly damage your roof. Ignoring these damages is costly; poor roofing impacts your safety and comfort and can lead to escalating repair bills.
After stormy weather, it’s essential to inspect your roof immediately in case of any damage, even if nothing is outwardly apparent. If you believe you may have roof damage in need of repair, our team at SDS is available nearly 24/7 to provide an emergency roof assessment after severe weather like a monsoon. Now is a great time to contact us.
What is a monsoon and when is the Arizona monsoon season?
According to the National Weather Service, the monsoon season in Arizona runs from July 15th to September 30. In the Southwest, intense heating brings our temperatures to dizzying heights during summer, making it one of the hottest states in the country. In fact, Tuscon alone averages a scorching 68 days of temperatures over 100 degrees. While Arizonians may be well-accustomed to this dry heat, we also eagerly await the much-needed relief of our annual rainy season.
As a meteorologist at the National Weather Service explains, a monsoon season is a change in the larger pattern of weather during the summer months, and it requires a combination of rising air, areas of low and high pressure, and higher dew point. Wind shifts bring moisture from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to create streams to the north, combined with Arizona’s sweltering daytime heat, creating ideal conditions for monsoon storms.
Monsoons are more than just a spectacular show of nature; they provide precious water to the Southwest region, where water is a valuable resource. In fact, 40-50% of annual precipitation falls during the monsoon season. Distant thunderstorms, especially over mountains, can cause flash flooding to occur many miles away from the thunderstorm as the rushing water flows into surrounding areas. It is important to stay vigilant and informed during the Arizona monsoon season to protect yourself and your property.
8 Tips to Prepare for Arizona’s Monsoon Season
Storm Damage Specialists are well-versed in working with clients after all types of weather damage, including roof damage that occurs after a monsoon. After going through this process numerous times over the years, we’ve come up with some tips for preparing your home and roof for the upcoming Arizona monsoon season to minimize your damage, hassle, and cost.
1. Inspect Your Roof and Gutters
As a home or business owner, you must proactively protect your property from monsoon rainfall. You must do certain things before, during, and after a monsoon event to ensure your roof and home or property stay safe.
Before a monsoon season begins:
Before June, make sure to inspect your roof for any obvious damage. Take a look at shingles, tiles, flashings, and any other roofing materials to check for cracks, gaps, or other signs of wear and tear. Also, inspect your gutters to make sure they’re not clogged with debris. Blockages prevent adequate drainage necessary during heavy rain.
During a monsoon storm:
Store materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber to protect from floodwaters and make quick temporary repairs to your roof after a severe storm.
When a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect, move into a central interior room. Stay away from windows. Close garage doors to prevent inward rushing air from removing the roof or downing walls.
After a monsoon storm:
Ensure the safety of your home or building after severe thunderstorms by keeping an eye out for any signs of leaks. Please pay particular attention to the ceiling and upper walls as they tend to exhibit the most apparent signs of a roof leak. Don’t hesitate to call our SDS professionals to repair any leaks you may find, as persistent storms can turn minor leaks into major damage.
2. Secure Outdoor Furniture, Décor, and Materials
It’s common for heavy winds during intense thunderstorms to gust up to 70mph. Lightweight furniture, decor, pallets, and other items could easily become flying projectiles. Secure loose items like patio umbrellas and chairs to avoid them being carried away. Consider clearing the entire outdoor area if you have an extended yard or property. If you cannot secure outdoor furniture, garbage cans, and other materials move them indoors.
3. Prepare for power outages
Unplug your sensitive electronic equipment before the monsoon hits to protect your sensitive electronic equipment from storm damage. In case of a power outage, turn off electric appliances that were on before you lost power, except for one light to indicate when the power comes back.
Homeowners, do not open the refrigerator or freezer for power outages lasting less than two hours to maintain food temperature. But, if the outage lasts longer, pack your cold and frozen foods into coolers with ice.
For everyone, when there’s thunder, turn off the AC unit to prevent damage from power surges caused by lightning strikes. Don’t expose your AC to costly repair bills when you can avoid them with this essential practice.
4. Install Lightning Protection Systems
In the event of a lightning strike, the resulting electrical surge can be dangerous to your home or facility. However, a lightning protection system can safely direct the surge into the ground. It’s important to note that a lightning protection system is not meant to prevent a strike but rather provide a safe path for the current to follow.
A lightning protection system includes inconspicuous copper or aluminum rods called air terminals, which are mounted vertically on the roof at regular intervals to intercept a lightning strike. Braided cables called main conductors connect the air terminals to the other system components and grounds. Ground terminations, which consist of at least two ground rods driven at least 10 feet deep in the earth, direct the dangerous current into the ground while surge arresters and suppressors prevent overvoltages from causing fires.
In addition to protecting your home, it’s worth considering lightning protection for trees taller than your home or within 10 feet of your structure. Unprotected trees in close proximity can create a side-flash hazard to the nearby home.
5. Trim Overhanging Tree Branches Near Your Property
Strongly consider trimming overhanging tree branches near your property before a monsoon hits. Cutting branches helps reduce the risk of damage and unnecessary maintenance cost in the case of strong winds and lighting. If you’re not the chainsaw-wielding type, work with a professional to ensure the trees are properly (and safely) trimmed. Stake down young trees that might not make it through an intense storm. Even if you think your trees are sturdy, the heavy monsoon rains that often come before the strong winds can loosen our Arizona soil and make trees more prone to being uprooted.
6. Replace Old Windows or Doors with Impact Resistant Treatments
Replacing old windows and doors with impact-resistant treatments can protect your property from monsoon debris and dust. Broken or leaky windows or doors leave an opening for strong wind gusts, hail, and flying debris; swapping the glass with an impact-resistant version or adding plastic films could block significant damage.
The monsoon season brings unwelcome moisture that can be harmful to your windows. The heavy downpour and strong winds may cause damage to the structure, but prolonged condensation can also wreak havoc. To prevent water infiltration, ensure that all windows are well-sealed and fix any gaps or areas lacking sealant. If water does make its way in, take immediate action to avoid structural deterioration and mold growth.
Consider adding storm shutters for older windows, especially those susceptible to weather conditions. They offer extra security and protect your windows from harm until you can replace them with weather-proof replacement alternatives.
7. Prepare an Emergency Kit
Tucson Electric Power recommends preparing an emergency kit for monsoon season. Include:
- Nonperishable food items
- Water – 1 gallon per person per day
- First-aid supplies
- Matches/Lighters stored in a sealed plastic container
- Flashlight with batteries
- Special Need Items – Medical needs, baby needs, pet needs
8. Don’t Ignore the Importance of Proper Ventilation and Air Quality
Monsoons bring heavy dust and dirt to our communities with stunning intensity. Breathing in polluted air can cause onerous health issues for your employees or loved ones, but an affordable air purifier system or mask can reduce the risks. Proper ventilation systems, cleaning air filters, and changing them frequently will help sustain your interior air quality. During Arizona’s monsoon season, dust and pollen are everywhere, and your AC system is no exception. To ensure clean air and a healthy AC system, checking and replacing your filter before and after a thunderstorm is essential.
Sealing any cracks or holes in your ductwork is also crucial to maintaining indoor air quality and preventing leaks that drive up energy costs. Finally, scheduling an annual AC tune-up before monsoon season will give you peace of mind that your system is ready to handle the harsh weather.
How to inspect your roof after monsoon storms
Don’t panic when a monsoon strikes. Instead, take the necessary measures to ensure your roofing is secure and intact. Here’s a helpful checklist to help you inspect your roof following a storm:
Check for Visible Damage:
Look for any significant damage that is visible from a distance. Call SDS as soon as possible if any gaping holes or roof destruction caused by debris are visible. A timely repair can prevent further damage.
Examine the Tiles, Shingles. or Roofing Membranes:
Inspect every inch of your roof to ensure none of the roofing surfaces has blown away or been damaged in the monsoon. Shingles, tiles, and other roofing materials are an essential defense barrier against weather elements, and a missing piece can cause significant damage to your property.
Look Inside the Attic or Other Below Roof Spaces:
Investigate the attic to identify dark spots, holes, mold, or water damage on the ceiling, walls, and beams. These signs may seem minor, but they could result in significant roofing issues later. It’s good to examine them to avoid more substantial future damage.
Continue Monitoring for Damage:
Look out for signs of severe roof damage, such as gutters that are loose or clogged with debris after monsoon storms. Poor water drainage can be caused by these issues, leading to leaks and potential damage to your interior space. Additionally, if you have trees on your property, be aware that strong winds can knock branches and debris onto your roof, causing damage. If you see any evidence of this, it’s important to contact SDS for a roof inspection and promptly remove any dead trees from your yard.
Monsoon thunderstorms often call for a professional roof inspection.
Even if you don’t observe evident damage from outside or inside your home, professional roofing experts can spot more subtle problems that could worsen over time.
If you’re worried about your roof’s condition, the best course of action is to call us immediately for an inspection. Our experts have an experienced eye that quickly detects any potential issues before they end up costing you more. Additionally, early detection and repair of minor damages are crucial in preventing severe damages in the future. While you may think you can do the inspection yourself, remember that not all forms of damage are visible to an untrained eye. Please leave it to SDS with the knowledge and experience to identify early warning signs of roof damage.
For more information, check out local Arizona resources:
Arizona Emergency Network: https://ein.az.gov/monsoon-awareness
Tuscon Weather: https://www.weather.gov/twc/monsoonsafety
City of Tucson Disapster Preparedness: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/fire/disaster-preparedness#
Pima County: https://www.pima.gov/459/Storm-Flooding
2022 Documentary by Tuscon’s KGUN: https://www.kgun9.com/weather/monsoon
City of Phoenix: https://www.phoenix.gov/pio/summer/update
Bracing for the Monsoons with Storm Damage Specialists
With over 40 years of key staff experience, we know the ins and outs of the industry. If you decide to file an insurance claim after a monsoon, we can help you get the full payment you deserve. Our team is licensed in Property and Casualty Insurance and we work with trusted professionals, including Public Adjusters, Forensic Engineers, and Law Firms, when needed. For more information on Storm Damage Roofing Claims see our article: A Storm Has Damaged My Roof – Now What?
Living in the Tuscon or Phoenix area during the monsoon season comes with potential hazards for property and residents. Still, with preparation, this seasonal change could also present some spectacular views and much-needed relief from the summer heat. If you experience a monsoon, team up with Storm Damage Specialists to make the event as painless as possible.
Contact us for a free roof inspection and we’ll send our professional roofers to assess any damage and get you on the road to repair. Let’s brace life’s storms together!