Summer in El Paso is an interesting time. We have wild stretches of triple digit temperatures that bake the ground so hard it's like concrete and then we have crazy monsoonal rains that will cause flash flooding and flooding around your house that requires sandbags. Usually around this time of the year, the El Paso Water utility announces its sandbag program. But this isn't a usual year and we all know why - thanks COVID-19.

The coronavirus pandemic may have caused a lot of things to slow down or close completely, but it won't stop the weather. Dealing with the financial fallout has, however, stopped the free sandbag distribution program from the City of El Paso. El Paso Water utility officials say that "in the interest of social distancing and limiting in-person interactions" during the coronavirus pandemic, they are suspending for the time being their sandbag distribution program. They also announced that the scheduled opening of satellite sandbag distribution sites are on hold until further notice as well.

So what can you use as a sandbag alternative during El Paso's monsoon season? I did a Google search and there are a lot of products out there for places that experience serious flooding due to hurricanes or very heavy, sustained rains. Unfortunately, they are either expensive or for commercial application and not for the couple of inches of rain we tend to get during our monsoon season. Really the only idea I found that could be easily done is going to a home improvement store, getting bags of playground sand and making your own sandbags by putting the sand in trash bags and sealing them with duct tape.

I know that it's not the best alternative, but since you can't count on the free sandbags from EP Water this year, you need to figure something out if your house or business floods.