Is your facility prepared to handle monsoon weather?

Monsoon season lasts from June 15 until Sept. 30 In the U.S., it largely affects the South and Southwest, from California to Colorado, according to The Weather Channel.

The change in wind direction that officially marks the end of monsoon season results in East-to-South dry air being replaced with humid, warm air from northern Mexico. This weather change can cause heavy rain, thunderstorms, lightning, dust storms and strong winds.

These weather events may be helpful in some situations, like rains that tame wildfires or drought. However, they can also cause multiple forms of damage to buildings and affected areas through flooding, strong winds and dust storms. Facility managers with warehouses in the South and Southwest could benefit from making some adjustments to their facilities to reduce the potential for damage caused by monsoon season weather.

Here are some ways to combat some of the worst weather monsoon season brings:

Keep dust and precipitation out

Dust storms are more common during monsoon season, and they can be incredibly destructive and dangerous. So far in the 2017 monsoon season, dust storms have impacted Arizona, New Mexico and nearby states. They can be sudden and strong, blowing sand and dust seemingly in every direction.

That sand, dust and debris can easily enter a warehouse through any open portal, like a loading dock door, or any crack in the infrastructure. This is a situation no facility manager wants to be in; an infiltration of sand can ruin inventory and equipment, have negative employee health consequences and create an unsafe work environment that must be addressed quickly.

To prevent dust, dirt or debris from entering your warehouse during loading or unloading, install dock seals. These foam pads are affixed to the loading dock, forming a seal with trucks.

Dust isn’t the only destructive force that could enter your warehouse. Though it may seem counterintuitive to prepare against flooding in a particularly dry area, it’s actually highly important. Dry soil doesn’t absorb rainfall easily, and desert areas often experience flooding in heavy rains due to runoff and rain’s inability to soak into the ground.

Sealing your floor will prevent water damage. Securing all doorways, windows and vents with flood-resistant materials also helps keep water out, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety reported. Non-return valves installed into your drainage pipes will prevent water from seeping back into your building.

Of course, the best defense against the elements is your building’s exterior. Your building envelope needs to be in good condition to prevent inclement weather from affecting what’s inside your warehouse. At the beginning of monsoon season, it’s a good idea to inspect your building envelope and determine if it’s time for a change. Repeat the inspection after any major storms and at the end of monsoon season as well.

Manage increased temperatures

Monsoon season isn’t all about storms. Temperatures tend to rise during this time of year, too. Keeping your employees cool to reduce fatigue or heat illness should be top of mind for any facility manager.

The warehouse’s systems – heating, ventilation and air conditioning – should be reviewed at the beginning of the summer and again at the end. Certain elements of the system may wear out and become less effective and more expensive to run. If this is the case, it’s in the business’s best interest to fix the HVAC soon, both to reduce costs and to make the working environment a healthy one.

Warehouse fans can assist in cooling efforts as well. High velocity low speed fans move huge amounts of air slowly and steadily with expansive blades that are often several feet long, This breaks up columns of heat and provides a slight breeze to workers. Since HVLS fans contribute greatly to a more comfortable and healthy work environment, there is reduced need to rely on the HVAC system, effectively lowering energy costs for the warehouse.

Monsoon season lasts from mid-June to the end of September; facility managers who have not yet made these provisions may benefit by mitigating monsoon-related problems this year, or preparing for next year.

If you’d like information about how your warehouse can be improved, reach out to the experts at Miner. We’re dedicated to ensuring your facility is both efficient and safe.