How to Prepare for a Monsoon

dog with umbrella GIF
Yes, an umbrella is a good idea.

If you’ve been enjoying or suffering through unseasonable weather at any point in the last few years, take that as your cue to be prepared for unexpected–and possibly extreme–weather events. The US does have a monsoon season (July, August, and September), but there might be a heavy downpour at any time of year.

This monsoon map shows the regions who are most likely to be affected by predictable monsoon in the US, but other locations are also at risk. States like Hawaii and Oregon that receive heavy rain regularly may also be at greater risk for flooding due to heavy rainfall.

Honestly, at this point in the climate change game, anyone and everyone should be ready for a flash flood. Six inches of fast-moving flood waters can easily knock you off your feet and even may carry a car away.

It’s easy to get prepared in four simple steps.

Rule of Thumb

Once your kit and evacuation plans are prepared, don’t forget to prep your home!

Step 1: Prepare Emergency Kits

Whether the storm traps you at home or forces you to evacuated, you will want to be fully stocked. An emergency kit (also known as a go-bag) should help to keep you well fed, hydrated, healthy, and safe. It’s best to keep an extensive emergency kit in your home, and back-up kits in your cars and workplaces.

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Your monsoon emergency kit should include:

Individualize your kit to cover all of your family’s needs. If you have young children or pets, be sure to include carriers and food that will keep them happy for a few days. Baby might need more than just a can of beans! Include some comfort and entertainment items as well. Staying calm is an important part of getting through a disaster safely. To learn more about emergency kits, check out our guide on go-bags.

four leaf clover
Lucky charms should definitely be considered.

Step 2: Plan for the Worst Case Scenarios

In an ideal world, heavy rain will only occur when your entire family is together.

This is not an ideal world.

You or other members of your family might be away from home when things get bad. Make sure your entire family is aware of what to do if they can’t get in touch during an emergency.

Family emergency communication planning will make the entire family more confident in the event of a disaster. Sit down with your household and write down your plan for the worst case scenario.

You should have answers to at least the following questions:

  1. Who is supposed to call whom during an emergency? 
  2. If you are unable to meet at home, what’s a safe space in the neighborhood where you can reconnect?
  3. If local phone lines get jammed, who will be your out-of-state emergency contact?

To learn more about communicating during disasters, check out our guide on creating an emergency communication plan.

Step 3: Know Your Escape Routes

The routes you ordinarily take to and from home, work, and/or school, may not be safe during monsoons. A good rule of thumb is to avoid roads that are close to water, since those areas are likely to flood first. Most counties have official evacuation routes; learn about yours and make sure the paths you choose to reach them are on high ground.

Plan the best escape routes from your home, as well. If the front door is blocked, is there another safe exit? Review all of your home’s exit points, and make sure your family knows how to remove window screens, in case a window exit is required during an emergency. If you have an electric garage door, make sure you can operate it manually, in case the power goes out.

person looking peering though rain covered window
Should have taught her how to open those windows while you had the chance.

Step 4: Stay Alert

Stay alert by subscribing to a severe weather notification service. Most smart phones offer an automated weather alert service, and you can alter your settings to make sure you receive notifications in your preferred format.

The National Weather Service issues watches and warnings.

  • Weather watch: danger is likely; stay alert
  • Weather warning: disaster has already begun unfolding; start executing your emergency plan!

Currently, the NWS’s list of warnings does not include a specific monsoon warning, but there are many flood warnings to encompass all types of heavy rainfall.

Rule of Thumb

If you live in a higher risk flood zone or at a low elevation, make sure you alter your settings to receive alerts as soon as possible, since you may need to act more quickly.

Onto the home prep!

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.