Planning an outdoor adventure during the monsoon? Read this first!

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Storm tracking into Lake Pleasant on July 28, 2017. (Source: Kim Quintero, 3TV/CBS 5) Storm tracking into Lake Pleasant on July 28, 2017. (Source: Kim Quintero, 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

From drivers stuck in flash flooding to hikers trapped on mountain trails, Arizona's monsoon threatens to create more of the havoc for at least the next month.

Needless to say, bad weather doesn't usually stop adventure-seekers from exploring our state's natural beauty. So how can you avoid finding yourself in a potentially deadly situation?

It all starts with knowing what the forecast is. When storms are expected, blinding dust, torrential rain, strong winds, hail and lightning can develop in the blink of an eye, from the Valley to the high country. This is not the kind of weather you want to get stuck in.

[FORECAST: 7-day forecast | Interactive radar]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon 2017]

[RELATED: Top 3 threats of monsoon storms]

As we've seen over the past few weeks, the monsoon can be incredibly unpredictable. A prime example is the flash flooding that sadly took the lives of 10 family members at a swimming hole outside of Payson, when a torrent rushed in from thunderstorms several miles away.

[SLIDESHOW: Deadly flash flood at swimming hole near Payson]

[READ MORE: 10 family members killed in flash flood mourned in Arizona]

[RELATED: What to do if you get stuck in a flash flood]

Tragedies like this don't have to happen. Before your next excursion, do some research. Learn the topography of the area you're visiting. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is this an area that's prone to flooding?
  2. Is there a wash nearby?
  3. Are there mountains or a recent wildfire scar that could create runoff from a downpour?

"I think it's really important that we learn from the incident that we saw happen in Pinal County, up in Payson, that we've got to pay attention to not just what is directly over us, but what's coming in," said Capt. Reda Bigler, the public information officer for the Phoenix Fire Department.

Last month, we also saw damaging winds from thunderstorms capsize or sink more than 10 boats and destroy two marinas at Lake Pleasant.

[READ MORE: Monsoon pummels Lake Pleasant for second day in a row]

[SLIDESHOW: Lake Pleasant storm damage from Sunday]

"Life jackets are probably the No. 1 thing. Out here, especially during storms, we tell everybody to put on their life jackets," said Jacob Bowes, deputy of boat patrol with Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. "When you're in that storm, if something does happen, you're able to float. If you're scrambling to put it on after tragedy happens, it's going to be too late,"

[RELATED: Storms roll in quickly: What to do if you're boating when a storm hits]

Once out on the lake, monitor weather conditions. If you see lightning or hear thunder, load your boat immediately.

"If you do decide to wait until the storm gets here at the lake, wait it out in a cove. Don't try coming up to the boat ramps and tying off to the docks. If the dock is damaged, your boat will go down with it," said Bowes.

Also, make sure you have a radar app on your phone so you can track storms. If you haven't already, add the free azfamily.com app to your mobile device for weather alerts sent directly to you as they are issued. If there isn't cell service in the area you'll be at, consider investing in a weather alert radio. It will notify you of any watches, advisories and warnings issued by the National Weather Service. 

[RELATED: NWS mobile alerts becoming more localized]

[MORE: Weather blog]


Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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