PHOENIX -- When a big storm is in the forecast, you'll be glad to know crews across the state are on standby mode, waiting to respond and help. At the Arizona Department of Transportation Traffic Operations Center in South Phoenix, folks are watching the roads across the state, 24/7 and have an open line of communication with crews out in the field. When heavy rains hit, all sorts of problems can arise.
"They're dealing with debris because the washes are running and you can have rock fall," explained Doug Nintzel with ADOT. "You can actually have rockslides because the heavy rain has loosened some rocks. So, these are the things we have to watch for."
Dozens of monitors help workers keep watch on the current conditions. When problems come up on a freeway or highway, ADOT is ready to send out crews to clear the scene and to help redirect traffic.
Just like ADOT, the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management is always preparing for various situations. They plan for a worst-case scenario. "It's a lot of work," department director Pete Weaver said. "We try not to broadcast that we're doing this behind the scenes. We want people to prepare for themselves as well."
Numerous maps are up on monitors showing areas more likely to flood and they have evacuation plans in place.
"We work in unison with cities and towns, fire and law enforcement, public works," Weaver said.
Being prepared is the department's business. "We have to be ahead of it," he said.
"We can't wait until it happens." With weather on the way, Weaver said there are several things you can to do be prepared.
- Check your windshield wipers
- Clear debris from rooftops, gutters and eaves
- Clear your yard for drainage
- Check your sump-pump
- Check flashlight batteries