Every year about this time we implore local residents to remember that they cannot contradict the laws of nature and survive. We are talking of course about the monsoon.
While slow to come so far this season when it arrives, Arizonans seem to forget everything they ever knew about it. We are so used to the baking, dry desert that a little water seems to discombobulate our thought process.
As a result, annually law enforcement and emergency services are pressed into action to extricate people from cars in washes. It is especially important in this area, where there is still a lot of open land and heavily flowing washes. And when we learn of the rescue later, it’s almost always someone who has lived here for years, not a tourist. It seems our visitors have more common sense when compared to our “locals.” So once again, as we go into monsoon season, here are some reminders about the reality we all face.
First and foremost, don’t drive through water. In rural areas, even if the water looks shallow, sometimes the sand on the bottom of the wash is unstable. You drive into it, your wheels dig in, and you’re stuck. Also, please remember that six inches of water now can turn into three feet of water in a heartbeat. You won’t necessarily have time to extricate yourself if you get into trouble.
Secondly, remember that moving water has a great deal of power and that looks can be deceiving.
Third, be prepared. Carry a shovel, rubber boots and a chain in your vehicle. You may not need it yourself, but someone else might.
Fourth, this is no time to be driving around without a cell phone. If something happens, you need to be able to get help. It’s also wise to carry extra food, water, blankets and first-aid kit.
Fifth, we all have busy lives and places to be. But getting home or making that appointment on time is not worth risking your life, and those of the emergency responders, by doing something stupid. And if you do, you will pay. First, the vehicle will be a mess. And second, under the stupid motorist law you will be charged for your own rescue.
We live in the desert. Respect its power. Let’s get through through this without tragedy.