Haboobs, micro-bursts, monsoons, flash flooding and wild fires; where in the United States can all these be found? In my hometown of Mesa, Arizona, that’s where. The Phoenix Metropolitan Area is considered the second safest area in the US for natural disasters, and yes, we do not have hurricanes or cyclones, but those aforementioned weather conditions can and do happen here in the Valley of the Sun.
A Haboob is an intense, massive dust storm that rolls through a desert area picking up sand and dirt. If you have never seen one, it resembles a Tsunami on land. Micro-bursts are the southwest desert area’s equivalent of a tornado. A whirling, swirling little burst of energy that dips and plunges sporadically, and can do quite a bit of wind damage. For a dry, arid community, most people here carry flood insurance. Because our land is so dry, a huge downpour of rain, especially during a monsoon, does not soak into the earth fast enough, and creates rivers and lakes where once there was a nice arroyo or street.
Wild fires in the country always make the news; devastating and damaging, we in the valley are usually spared, but the higher elevations of Arizona surrounding Mesa have wild fire warnings out in the intense summers of excessive heat.
Homeowner insurance in Mesa is very important. A few years ago, on the unique date of 10-10-10, a micro-burst of large proportions came bustling through Mesa and took a huge chunk of my roof and damaged several other homes in the area. My home insurance saved me from being homeless. With a quick call to the agent, an estimator was there within hours and a check for the repairs was in my hands within a week. I now have a very safe, very new, shingled roof.
Even though we carry insurance coverage and have peace of mind from having no place to stay and losing a large piece of equity, taking safety precautions and keeping the home as safe as can be is a smart move. Personally, even in our holiday season, I turn off the holiday lights when I leave for a long length of time; I have heard of too many fires being starting by faulty Christmas tree lights. Another way to prevent electrical problems and potential fires due to overheated air conditioners here in the desert, is to hose the outside units down thoroughly after every dust storm, and/or haboob rolls through.
The Valley of the Sun is a beautiful area to live in, especially in the mild, sunny winters when most of the country is struggling with ice and snow. It is true we will never have to worry about ice storms, snow on the roofs and freezing pipes, but each area of the unique United States topography carries with it some type of dangers to our homes. Talk to your home insurance agent, who is an expert in your area.