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Preparing for El Niño in South Bay

1997-1998 has proved to be California’s wettest winter on record. The torrential rain and resulting flooding and other disasters cost California more than $400 million in damages. It is estimated that seven inches of rain fell in a single day, causing rivers to overflow as well as dangerous mudslides. Sadly, this terrible weather claimed the lives of 17 people. Unfortunately, climate models are now predicting that the coming El Niño can rival or even surpass the 1997-1998 El Niño. The last decade has seen drought and catastrophic wildfires, leaving California’s parched landscape ill-prepared for the torrential rain that is expected.

According to Olivia Humilde, FEMA’s Mitigation Outreach Specialist, “If you are in a wildfire area and the area around you has burned, the land can’t absorb that water.” This makes the area prime for mudslides and flooding. Unfortunately, many homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flooding. Be sure to check with your insurance company and, if you are not covered, purchase flood coverage as soon as possible. Residents can also identify their flood risk by entering their addresses at the government’s FloodSmart website.

Luckily, California residents, including those in the South Bay area, are being forewarned about this potential disaster, giving residents time to prepare. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the first thing you should do is assess and understand your risks. Residents who are living in low-lying beachfront homes should be aware of flooding risks, while residents living in drought-stricken or fire-ravaged areas should be aware of their risk of mudslides.

Preparing Your Family

While insuring your home is important in preparing for a potential catastrophe, it is just as important to prepare your family. Develop a disaster plan and supply kit. This will include a family communication plan in the event of a disaster. A family communication plan will ensure everyone knows how to communicate and where to evacuate to if necessary.

You should also prepare a basic disaster supply kit including:

  • Battery powered hand crank radio to listen to evacuation routes
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Water (enough for each person and your pets)
  • Canned food and a can opener
  • Pet food if you have any pets
  • Cell phone with external chargers or solar powered chargers
  • Prescription medications
  • Eye glasses
  • Formula and diapers if you have a baby

Disasters can strike at any time. It is best to have a good plan in place and follow it to ensure you, your family and your home are safe. The team at The Local South Bay is here to help you find your perfect home, as well as offer advice for protecting it. Reach out to us today for help.



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