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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Sweeten Your Summer with DIY Fruit-Filled Water Popsicles

With Memorial Day weekend just days away, people all across the country are dreaming up ways to stay cool and have some fun in the sun while celebrating the (unofficial) start to summer.

You might remember that during last year’s Drinking Water Week, we whipped up some tasty and healthy recipes to bring fruity flavors into your regular drinking water. Now, to shake things up a bit, we’re back with some ideas for how to transform those refreshing drinks into icy popsicles.

Here are four different types of water-based fruit popsicles to quench your thirst—and your sweet tooth!

What you need:

●      16 ounces of prickly pears

●      6 cups of water

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

The first step is to get the juice out of the prickly pear. You can do this with a juicer or by scooping out the insides. Put the fruit and the water into a blender or food processor and blend everything to a smooth, watery consistency. Pour mixture into your popsicle molds and freeze. Once frozen, remove the popsicles from the mold and enjoy!

What you need:

●      6 cups of water

●      2 cups of blackberries

●      ½ cup of mint leaves

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

Cut one and a half cups of blackberries in half. Mash one half cup of blackberries. Lightly chop all mint leaves. Combine mashed blackberries and lightly chopped mint leaves with water and warm over low heat for about 5 minutes to allow the mint to infuse with the water. Let the mixture cool and mix in halved blackberries. Pour everything into popsicle molds and let sit overnight before eating.

What you need:

●      2 limes

●      8 mint leaves

●      6 cups of water

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

Juice and zest both limes. Lightly chop mint leaves. Combine the juice, zest, mint leaves and water. Warm over low heat for about 5 minutes to allow for the mint to infuse into the mixture. Allow everything to cool, and then pour into popsicle molds.

What you need:

●      6 cups of water

●      2 mandarin oranges, sliced into wedges

●      Handful of blueberries

●      Ice

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

Juice one mandarin orange. Peel the other mandarin orange and slice into small wedges. Mix the juice, water, orange wedges and blueberries. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Get excited: You’re heading into Memorial Day weekend with four different types of popsicles to keep you and your family hydrated and happy. Tap into our Facebook and Twitter pages to stay updated on more fun activities to do with water all summer long.

 

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Customer Service Week Spotlight: Leslie Torres

Last but certainly not least, we have one final Customer Service Week interview to close out our week of celebrations. Today’s featured representative is Leslie Torres!

 

How long have you been with Aqua?
I have been with Aqua for 10 years as of September 18th! Double digits, baby!

What is it like to interact with Aqua’s customers? What makes them unique?
We never know what situation we are going to encounter when we answer a phone call. Aqua’s customers come from a diverse range of locations, which allows us to work with a large variety of different personalities. Our customers are unique because they’re so diverse from one another.

 

Has working in customer service improved your people skills outside of Aqua America? 
Absolutely! I now have a ton more patience than I did prior to working in customer service. Speaking with customers every day has also made me a better listener; I pay more attention to detail and am able to notice things I would have otherwise missed in the past. Additionally, working in this industry has made me far more flexible — I am better able to solve problems and adapt to seemingly difficult situations. 

Has working with Aqua’s customers impacted your life outside the workplace? How so?
I always run into customers outside of work! I have been stopped while grocery shopping or out to dinner with my family; I have found myself answering customer service questions outside of the workplace more often than I could have ever imagined.

 

Whenever I do encounter a customer outside of Aqua, I always treat them just as I would in the office: with kindness and respect.

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Customer Service Week Spotlight: Kelli Hodges

Continuing our Customer Service Week series, today we’d like to introduce you to Customer Service Representative Kelli Hodges! Let’s get to know her.

 

How long have you been with Aqua?

I started in a temporary position with Aqua back in July of 2009, and was hired on full-time in November of that year!

 

What is it like to interact with Aqua’s customers? What makes them unique?

Aqua customers are truly one of a kind. Dealing with an ever-present utility, I find that I am learning about the lives of people from all walks of life, an experience I find very rewarding.

What challenges have you overcome in order to provide quality customer service?

I have learned that it is sometimes necessary to pause, take a step back and give a customer the space to share their feelings, even if I have already determined the reason for their call. A lot of the time, customers need to express their emotions, and they use customer service representatives as an outlet to do just that.

 

We all need to be heard, and a major component to my role here at Aqua is ensuring that I’m listening to our customers’ needs and feelings, and driving home the fact that they know I’m here to support them.

What is the most rewarding thing about working in customer service?

The most rewarding thing about working in customer service is definitely helping customers find solutions and offering them options they didn’t even know they had. It may seem like such a minor thing for us, but we can make someone’s day and lift a huge weight off their shoulders with one short phone call. It’s an act I am very passionate about!

Has working with Aqua’s customers impacted your life outside the workplace? How so?

Absolutely. First and foremost, I have learned to develop a great deal of empathy and understanding in my relationships with others. Additionally, it is often the people we would least expect who may be having a hard time.

 

I believe that working in customer service has made me far more open-minded and sensitive of other peoples’ needs, thoughts and feelings.

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Customer Service Week Spotlight: Sarah Camargo

We’re on to day two of Customer Service Week here at Aqua! All week long, we’ll spotlight our exceptional customer service representatives, giving them a chance to share the ins and outs of their experiences. Today’s customer service representative spotlight falls on Sarah Camargo. Let’s get to know her!

 

How long have you been with Aqua? 

I’ve been with Aqua since November 2006, so nearly 10 years. Time flies!

What is it like to interact with Aqua’s customers? What makes them unique? 

There’s never a dull moment when interacting with our customers. Since we take calls from customers in various states, we encounter a wide range of personalities. You would think after working here for nearly 10 years that I would have heard it all, but that’s not the case. 

 

We get inquiries that range from water distribution to what our field technicians are working on, so I’m always happy to serve as a human encyclopedia for them!

What is the most rewarding thing about working in customer service?

I live for customer satisfaction. When we can help and lift an enormous weight off their shoulders, it makes our job incredibly fulfilling. 

 

Has working with Aqua’s customers impacted your life outside the workplace? How so?

I never want to speak over the phone anymore! Since I’m on the phone all day with customers or other Aqua employees, I try my hardest to never use it when handling personal matters. If I can do it online, I will. I tell my friends and family to text me rather than call, if possible. The rare times I do have to talk to somebody on the phone, I accidentally end the call with, “Thank you for calling Aqua!” 

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