Monsoon madness: What’s this watery summer weather?

Photo by Flickr user John Fowler

It’s easy to forget about types of weather that occur outside of our own backyards, especially during the summer months of sunshine. The wonders of our planet and its most essential resource never seize to amaze us, though, and that’s why we’re so fascinated by a summer weather phenomenon called monsoons.  

A monsoon, according to National Geographic, is a seasonal change in the winds of the area that alter the climate of the region. This phenomenon is common in areas close to the Indian Ocean, like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladeshand Myanmar, but it also occurs in the southwestern United States. Clearly, our eight Aqua states don’t typically see this type of weather, so we’re extra curious about it! 

A monsoon in New Mexico

There are two kinds of monsoons: dry and wet. A wet monsoon causes heavy rain in a region, while a dry monsoon does the opposite. This video from NASA does a great job of explaining how and why monsoons form. 

 

Monsoons mostly affect North America in the middle of summer, from July to September. In fact, states like New Mexico and Arizona get half of their annual rainfall during monsoon season. Fun fact: The wettest monsoon recorded in U.S. history was in 1984, with 9.56 inches of fallen rain. These records include numbers traced back to 1896. 

Usually, monsoons are beneficial to the areas they affect. Because these storms often occur after long periods of drought, the moisture they bring is replenishing and fruitful to the plants in the ecosystem. The high levels of rain can also aid firefighters battling wildfires in extremely dry areas.

Not all effects of monsoons are simple and benign, though. Since the affected land has often been bone-dry for so long, it can only soak up so much water at once. The rest of the water sits on top of the parched land, causing flash floods even from small amounts of rain. On top of flooding, monsoons can also bring lightning storms and massive dust storms called haboobs that can pose additional safety concerns for the affected communities, especially for people caught off guard while driving.

People who live in parts of the U.S. where monsoons occur are usually aware of necessary precautions. But for tourists, business travelers, or even new neighbors in the southwest, it’s important to know how to prep for monsoon season. In fact, paying attention to weather forecasts and having an emergency supply kit on hand are good summer weather tips for people living in any part of the country, especially during Hurricane Season.

What other types of watery weather pique your interest? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

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Waterful Tips for a Wonderful Vacation

Ah, summer: The perfect time to take a break from reality with a quick getaway surrounded by loved ones. Though plenty of vacation destinations this time of year revolve around water (think: beaches, pools and lakes), there are several other ways in which Earth’s most essential resource factors into your plans for getting out of town. 

Not sure what we’re talking about? Read on to see how you can ensure your summer vacation is a waterful one. 

Before you hit the road: 

●      This one’s obvious: Make sure any of your furry or feathered friends who are staying home are taken care of when it comes to food and water. Hydrated pets are happy pets!

●      While you’re at it, see if your pet sitter, a friend or a neighbor can stop by the house to water your plants. Different plants have different water needs, so do your research in advance to know how many visits to plan. 

●      Want to keep the yard in tip-top shape while you’re away? See if you can put your sprinklers on a timer system so that they automatically turn on throughout your trip. 

●      Does your swimming pool have an automatic cleaning pump? If so, ensure the pool is filled up with water before you head out so that the motor runs smoothly and doesn’t burn out. 

●      Take a walk through the house and make sure none of your faucets are leaking water. You certainly don’t want those leaks adding up while you’re away. 

●      Sign up for WaterSmart alerts from Aqua to stay up-to-date about any changes to your water service while you’re away so you’re not caught off-guard when you return. 

For the drive or flight:

●      If you drive to your destination, bring along a reusable water bottle that you fill up at home. That way, any time you stop somewhere for a bite to eat or to stretch your legs, you can refill it at a soda machine or water fountain. 

●      If you fly, you can still bring a reusable water bottle with you—just make sure it’s empty when you go through airport security! Afterward, you can fill it up at any food vendor’s soda machine or water fountain so you have plenty of water for the flight. 

●      Don’t forget: Plenty of foods contain water, too. Pack fruits and veggies to snack on during your trip so you stay hydrated—the tasty way. 

During the trip:

●      Remember that reusable water bottle you brought along? Always throw it in your beach bag or backpack no matter where you go.

●      Don’t forget to drink plenty of water even though you’ve pressed pause on your usual routine. For example, if you’re used to drinking water at your desk all day, it’s easy to forget to do so when you’re away from the office! Try setting reminders on your phone to make sure you — and the whole family — drink plenty of water on each day of your trip.

●      If you hit the beach, pool or lake, make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses to keep your skin safe from the bright sun. 

●      If you plan to be super active during your trip (think: hiking, surfing or other kinds of adventuring), consider bringing packets of powdered sports drink mixes to drop into your water bottle to keep your energy levels up.

●      Just for fun: Keep track of how many different types of water you encounter if you visit a new place. Between pools, oceans, rivers, lakes and waterfalls, the world is full of watery wonders! 

Whether your summer travels take you to the other side of the state or the other side of the world, remember that water is an invaluable part of everyday life, from the day-to-day tasks of home, to the adventures of a vacation. 

Have a safe, enjoyable and waterful trip! 

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5 Timely Tips to Celebrate Water Safety Month

Did you know May is recognized as National Water Safety Month? With summer right around the corner, we want to highlight a few of the most valuable tips for keeping yourself and loved ones safe by the pool, lake or ocean this swim season.

Here’s how to stay safe around the water—and what to do in case of an emergency.

Safety First and Foremost

Before venturing into any body of water, ensure that you are well prepared with the proper swimming safety gear—especially if you’re with someone with little to no trained swimming skills. Goggles, water wings, inflatable rafts and body boards can all be utilized for safety and a more relaxing experience in the water. Keep some or all of these tools readily available, and remember to never leave an inexperienced swimmer in the water without attentive supervision.

Follow Signs, Guidelines and Rules

 

Image via Wikimedia

Once you’ve got your safety gear covered, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs surrounding the swimming area. If you’re at a pool, signage indicating water depth, diving policies and lifeguard duties are common. Larger bodies of water such as oceans and lakes tend to have signs indicating whether a lifeguard is on duty, how tall waves may be and daily water temperatures. Always remember to take note of these factors before entering the water!

Get the Low-Down on Swimming

 

This one seems obvious, but the very best way to ensure water safety is to learn how to swim! Invest in a few swimming lessons to build a level of skill and comfort in pools and any larger bodies of water. Regardless of age, safety and basic swim skills are essential for a positive experience in or near the water.

What to Do in a Water Emergency

 

In the instance of an emergency, acting fast is absolutely crucial. Is there a lifeguard on duty? Call for help immediately, whether from an on-duty guard, a bystander or 911. If CPR is required, ask if anyone nearby is certified and able to provide help. CPR certification is simple to acquire via local courses and is highly recommended as a general life skill in case of any emergency. Most importantly, get any individual in need out of the water as quickly as possible and ask questions to determine their level of consciousness while you call for help.

Better Protected with Buddies

 

Buddy up! Venturing into the water on your own puts you at higher risk of falling victim to a dangerous situation. Even the most highly skilled swimmers can encounter an unsafe situation in the water, so having people nearby is always a major safety net. Plus, swimming is much more fun with friends.

Memorial Day is only a few weeks away, which means pools are opening and people are growing eager to hit the beach. Keep the above safety tips in mind this summer for a stress-free, safety-first swim season.

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Top 5 Spots for a Dreamy Water-cation

The nip seems to be back in the air, which can only mean one thing – winter is officially here. The cold months that are about to come can seem pretty daunting. Just thinking about shoveling snow is sending us shivers.

That being said, it’s no surprise that some warm vacation spots are on our minds. If we could, we would visit all of the amazing, water-filled places below. Take a look at our dream list and get ready to plan your own getaway.

1. Trevi Fountain (Rome, Italy)

If this isn’t at the top of your bucket list, you should move it there. Trevi Fountain is the epitome of amazing water features. Not only is it beautifully designed and incredible to look at, but it’s also located in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

This vacation spot is a must see! 

Image via Flickr user bensonkua

2. Great Wolf Lodge (United States)

Don’t feel like flying all the way to Italy for your next vacation? Then you should definitely check out Great Wolf Lodge. With 13 different locations around the U.S., you’re guaranteed to find some fun.

So what makes this hotel special? At each location guests will find an entire waterpark, indoors. Yep, that’s right: water slides, a lazy river and more all exist inside the resort.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

3. Lover's Cove (Avalon, California)

Crystal clear water, tons of ocean wildlife and an amazing location – Lover’s Cove is certainly a snorkeling paradise. Located in Southern California, this marine sanctuary is protected by the state and pollution free.

Snorkel or scuba dive, go with your significant other or bring the family along. Whatever you choose to do, we can promise you’ll have an amazing time.

4. Hanakapi`ai Falls (Kauai, Hawaii)

This gorgeous waterfall is located in scenic and sunny Hawaii. With more popular destination spots like Honolulu, the island of Kauai is often overlooked. That’s what we think makes Hanakapi`ai Falls an incredible vacation.

Image via Flickr user dexxus 

5. Cayman Islands

Are you ready for the ultimate getaway? Saying the stunning Cayman Islands are picturesque is an understatement.

Warm waters, bright beaches and striking scenery are just a few of the many things this island holds in store for you.

Now that you’re inspired, it’s time to book your trip! Even if you don’t end up flying across the ocean, we hope that you have a wonderful, warm, vacation.

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