Torrential downpours, high-speed winds and flash-flood warnings in areas of Highlands Ranch the week of July 23 signaled the start of monsoon season. And for some residents, the erratic weather was …
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Torrential downpours, high-speed winds and flash-flood warnings in areas of Highlands Ranch the week of July 23 signaled the start of monsoon season.
And for some residents, the erratic weather was unsettling.
“I live off of Broadway between Highlands Ranch Parkway and Wildcat and I can tell you... it was bad,” one resident wrote on a Highlands Ranch Facebook page after a July 24 afternoon thunderstorm. Another posted a photo of her backyard, which was covered in pools of water.
Monsoon season in Colorado generally lasts from July to September. During this time, severe afternoon thunderstorms — sometimes accompanied by lightning and flash floods — are more likely. While the precipitation is good for the state during what are also the hottest months, the powerful weather conditions can be dangerous.
Below are five tips to keep you and your family safe.
Subscribe to weather notification services
Always keep an eye on the sky and watch for signs of approaching storms, such as dark clouds and strong winds, the National Park Service says.
If a storm is approaching, monitor NOAA Weather Radio, local radio stations or a weather station on a smartphone. A severe thunderstorm watch means intense thunderstorms could brew quickly, whereas a severe thunderstorm warning means weather is occurring in an area.
Stay away from floodwaters
It’s never safe to drive or walk into floodwaters, South Metro Fire Rescue posted on its Facebook page on July 25.
“A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult,” South Metro Fire Rescue wrote. “It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.”
If roadways are experiencing floodwaters, find an alternate route or stop your vehicle, turn on your hazard lights and wait for the flooding to stop, multiple weather organizations say.
Listen to thunderstorm warnings
A severe thunderstorm warning indicates wind gusts of 60 miles per hour or higher are occurring or likely, according to the National Park Service. People in an area with such a warning should seek shelter immediately to avoid flying debris. If thunder or lightning is present, stay away from open areas and seek shelter in a building or vehicle.
When indoors during a severe thunderstorm, stay away from windows, the National Park Service says.
Have a basic emergency kit
In case of emergency, the Department of Homeland Security
recommends preparing a basic emergency kit with enough supplies to last at least 72 hours. Items should be placed in airtight plastic bags and stored in plastic bins or a duffel bag.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends having one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, whistle to signal for help and a local map.
For a full list of items, visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
Let your loved ones know you’re safe
If a disaster strikes, individuals can register as safe through a database offered by the American National Red Cross online at safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php. The system has a tool that lets outsiders search for names of those in a disaster area.
People may also call 1-866-GET-INFO to register.
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