ST. GEORGE — With monsoon season underway in Southern Utah, residents, business owners and those recreating outdoors are advised to be ready for the heavy rains, winds and subsequent flooding that come along with these late-summer deluges.
Washington County was hit especially hard by monsoonal storms last year, with Dammeron Valley and Washington City’s Main Street experiencing severe flooding in July and August. The weather events flooded buildings in both areas, prompting county and municipal officials to craft plans for future flood-prevention measures.
Outdoor recreation safety
In addition to the usual hazards that come with flash-flooding in many of Southern Utah’s slot canyons, there are other monsoon-related dangers to keep in mind, especially when recreating in bodies of water.
“Monsoonal storms can bring heavy rains and winds, which could make water navigation difficult and result in flash floods in the slot canyons,” the National Park Service said in a news release.
Intense monsoonal storms can also wash debris into water bodies from surrounding plateaus and mountains. The debris may contain harmful bacteria from livestock and wildlife waste.
Those enjoying Southern Utah’s lakes and rivers should avoid drinking, swimming or recreating in waters that contains large amounts of floating debris or algae.
Disaster preparedness for businesses
The impact of natural disasters like flooding on businesses can be dire. Business owners are advised to plan ahead in order to protect the most critical parts of their operations, starting with employees, customers and data.
Following are some of the key aspects of disaster-preparedness planning for businesses:
- Communication. Owners should think ahead to how they’ll be in touch with staffers, customers and vendors. If phones are down, do they have alternatives like online messaging? They should have contact information for everyone — phone numbers, email and addresses for where staffers will be located. Moving from a server-based phone system to an internet-based one could also help limit a disaster’s impact on necessary communications.
- Data. With the availability of cloud or online data storage, companies won’t lose data even if their onsite computers are destroyed. Cloud storage also enables companies to keep operating when staffers have evacuated to far-flung places.
- Money and insurance. Owners should have emergency cash available. They should also know what losses their insurance will cover.
- Power. Owners who want to keep critical equipment running even if the power goes out need to bring in generators. The sooner, the better, as generators will disappear from stores as soon as a storm appears on the way.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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