How to prepare for the Arizona monsoon

TEMPE — It’s here. Outside your door.

The monsoon officially arrived Wednesday, descending on Arizona with its season of rain and dust storms, scorching heat and, often, destruction.

Tempe is among the cities and organizations who want to limit damage to homes. Officials offered these tips to homeowners on what to do before, during and after a monsoon storm.

sand bags

Sandbags are available at Tempe Field Services off of West Rio Salado Parkway and South Priest Drive. (Christina Tetreault/Cronkite News)

Before a storm

● Pack an emergency three-day kit with food, clothes, water, daily medications and other needs in case you have to leave your home because of flooding or a power outage.

● Trim trees and the landscaping. “If a limb comes off a tree and hits the house, it can damage the house or damage vehicles,” said Amanda Nelson, Tempe spokeswoman.

● Clean rain gutters and drains to prevent debris from rain.

● Have sand bags handy. Tempe provides free, ready-packed sandbags in case of flooding; check their website for locations and other information.

During a storm

● Stay inside your home to avoid mishaps like trouble breathing, falling or slipping, eye damage or getting hit by a falling object.

● Bring pets inside. “Pets can get stranded and get very frightened in a storm,” Nelson said.

● Keep cars and bikes in the garage to avoid damage from falling trees or light poles.

After a storm

● Report flooded areas. If your neighborhood floods or you see a flooded area, contact city officials. Most major Valley cities, including Phoenix, Scottsdale and Glendale have monsoon information and emergency numbers on their websites or can be reached through Twitter accounts.

● Report any fallen trees or debris that look hazardous to city officials.

● Don’t play in flood waters. They carry nasty germs. Save swimming and splashing for the pool or lake.