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How to prepare for, stay safe and keep informed during monsoon season

Weather services are predicting an active monsoon season for Arizona in 2021.

 

For example, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has found that much of the southern half of the state has an above-average chance of receiving more rain than normal this summer. And then there’s Accuweather, which predicts the Phoenix area should receive monsoon moisture early enough in the summer to prevent extreme heat, which Arizona endured in record-breaking fashion in 2020.

 

Prepare

 

Although Arizona’s monsoon season runs from June 15 through Sept. 30, APS prepares for it year-round. Plans are in place to combat outages caused by these fast-moving storms throughout the state. Our crews are positioned to respond quickly and safely, and we ensure we have appropriate supplies on hand to make needed repairs caused by a summertime blast from Mother Nature.

 

We encourage customers to prepare for monsoons too: 

 

  • Stay informed by subscribing to severe weather notification services and make sure you know the difference between a “watch” and a “warning.” A “watch” means severe weather has not occurred, but conditions make it more likely. A “warning” means a severe weather event is about to occur or has been reported.

  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage. Objects found in a typical backyard -- such as umbrellas, kiddie pools and even trampolines -- can be swept up by high monsoon winds and end up in power lines, causing outages.

     

  • Plan for the worst-case scenario. We suggest creating an emergency supply pack to use in case of a prolonged outage caused by monsoon rains, winds or both. The pack should contain non-perishable food items, water, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries and any necessary medication.

     

  • If you have an automatic garage door, be sure you know how to open it manually if needed.

     

  • If you use life-support medical equipment that requires electricity, call 602-371-7171 to register for our Medical Preparedness Program. This alerts us of your needs in the event of an outage.

stormy sky with lightening strike

Stay safe

 

Monsoons can create dangerous situations for our customers, such as downed utility poles and/or power lines.

 

“When we respond to an outage, we always prioritize safety,” said Scott Kahrs, an APS troubleman/lineman. “If there’s a safety threat, such as a utility pole on the ground, public safety is going to be our No. 1 priority.”

 

So, what should you do if a monsoon storm brings down a pole or a line in your neighborhood?

 

First, it’s critical for customers to stay clear of downed lines until the scene has been secured.

 

“We recommend people stay at least 100 feet away if they see power lines down in the road or on the ground,” Kahrs said. “There’s really no way for anybody to tell if a downed line is energized or not. As a lineman and a troubleshooter, I’ve seen energized wires lay on the ground and not move or make any noise. And you’d think an energized line would hit the ground and be popping and blowing up. It does that most of the time, but depending on the conditions, it can lay on the ground and not alert you that it’s energized. So, no matter what, we tell customers to always treat a downed line as energized and to always keep their distance from it.”

 

Second, you should call 911 and then call APS at (602) 258-5483.

 

“We work with first responders on how to best secure the area and how to keep people away so the fire departments and police departments will be able to get out there quickly and secure the scene for us to make the repair,” Kahrs said.

 

Keep informed

 

If storm activity causes an outage, you can report it online at aps.com or call 855-OUTAGES. Have your APS account number handy, if you can, before you call as doing so enables customers to report an outage through an automated phone system.

 

Because all outages are unique and fluid based on weather conditions, accessibility to damaged areas and other variables, every power restoration time can be different.

 

For information about a specific outage, we encourage customers to subscribe to outage alerts to receive text/email updates or visit our Outage Map should they lose power during a storm.

 

 

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