On February 17th, 2017, Southern California was hit by what many are describing as the storm of the year. The severe rain storm that hit the region is one that occurs once every 10 years or so. Typically, these types of storms coincide with the El Nino years however this year is not an El Nino year. In fact, it was predicted that 2016 would be the year of El Nino but it never materialized leaving us to question forecasters. To add to the confusion, weather experts have now been saying that we are in a La Nina year and then weeks after they contradict themselves by issuing new El Nino warnings. There is lots of confusion surrounding their weather predictions. Honestly, we do not give much thought to long range weather predictions as the science behind it is not always accurate. This planet is a living, breathing entity that is unpredictable.
There has also been lots of chatter in regards to what some are calling the 100-year rain storms that have the potential of causing widespread flooding in the central California valleys. Some say that we are on track to experience those storms that could bring up to 30 to 40 days of steady rain.
In regards to the latest storm Southern California experienced, it was reported that some areas received 10 to 15 inches of rain within a 24-hour period which started late Thursday night (2/15/17) into Friday night (2/16/17). Many areas were also hit with gale force winds of up to 70 mph. Additionally as a result of the severe rain and wind, there was widespread street flooding, flash flooding, trees down, power lines down, power outages, and sink holes reported. Sadly, there were also storm related deaths. This storm will definitely be one for the record books, however we are sure that there will be other significant rain storms before this season is over. Southern California has not seen this much rain since 2010 when the drought began. This particular storm is the drought buster!
As we start the slow process of drying out and assessing all the damage, we will be taking note for the purpose of educating Southern Californians on disaster preparedness which for many is the furthest thing on their minds. There will be many lessons learned from this severe weather event and should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, many think of preparedness as a fad and it is those who will be hardest hit.
Like clockwork, many will talk all day long about preparing themselves or their families but when things settle down, preparedness like a fad, simply goes to the wayside. We have always stressed that preparedness is a lifestyle, not a fad.
It would be a good idea for Southern Californians to sift through the web and look at the photos of flooding and damage caused by the latest storm. May it be the nudge some need to get off their butts and do something to protect themselves and their families.
RAIN STORM PREPAREDNESS GUIDE:
The following is a guide for those who wish to take preparedness seriously. If you have any questions, you may email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or we can come to your neighborhood meetings to offer a presentation.
It would be a good idea to stock up on preparedness supplies if you live in areas prone to flooding or areas where your escape route may be compromised. In many cases authorities will advise residents to shelter in place during storms. Some areas may be prone to power outages. Now that the storm has passed, it would be a good idea to stock up on supplies before the next major rain storm.
– Flashlights, Lanterns, Candles – It was reported that 61,000 Southern Californians were without power for an extended duration of time. That means many were left in the dark. Sometimes power could be out for hours or even days.We recommend that people purchase good quality flashlights or lanterns. LED flashlights and lanterns have come a long way in terms of reliability and battery usage. We have always found that the Garrity disposable flashlights are very handy and very cost effective if you can’t afford to purchase LED flashlights or lanterns. The benefit of LED lanterns is that you will get significant better lighting coverage for your home or business. Having many lanterns would be useful or basically one per room.
Our offices are equipped with emergency LED light pucks that can be mounted under cabinets or anywhere that emergency lighting is needed. We purchased our lights from Costco which sells a pack of 6 puck lights for $20.00.
Candles will always be the cheapest alternative to flashlights and lanterns however candles should always be supervised. We do not recommend tea lights. You should always opt for pillar candles that can burn up to 4 to 6 hours continuously. When using candles, always have a small fire extinguisher nearby in case of fire.
– Batteries –You should stock up on batteries that will be used to power your battery-operated devices such as flashlights, lanterns and portable radios. Having an ample supply of batteries for up to a week is advisable especially if heavy use at night is anticipated. You should also have spare cell phone batteries as well. Bulk purchases of batteries can be obtained at Costco or even ordered online through Amazon.
– Portable Radio –During this last storm, the use of a portable radio allowed us to keep tabs on what was going on in our area. Portable radios are a must during any type of disaster. If the power goes out, you may not have internet or phone lines to get updates on the situation.
We recommend a self powered radio, one that has a crank that allows the user to create a charge or a solar powered radio. Unless you have the money to purchase tons of batteries, a battery powered radio may not be suitable for a long duration of time.
– Cell Phones – If the power goes out, cell towers have a 4 hour backup power system. Cell phones should be used to call 911 in an emergency or to let others know about your status. In some cases, cell phones can be used as a mobile hot spot allowing those of you who use laptops to access the web for critical updates and warnings.
– Emergency Food – During a severe rain storm, it would be a good idea to have emergency food supplies on hand. This last storm we heard many saying that when their power went out, the inability to cook food was a problem. Most homeowners have electric/gas stoves that may not function if the power goes out. Having a backup portable stove would be ideal if you have a safe and dry place outside to ignite it.
There are companies that manufacture self heating food rations when no power or heating sources such as hot water are available.
– Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training – The most important item on this list is for people to get CERT trained in case of a natural disaster that requires that level of training to assist the community. The training itself is and can be a lifesaver! JUST DO IT!!
This is not a comprehensive list by any means but this would be a good start for most. We are sure that more supplies can be added to the above recommendations but really depends on how seriously you take preparedness or not.
With the threat of more rain coming in the weeks and months ahead, we highly encourage readers to get prepared.