What is an El Nino and how Should you Prepare?

El Nino Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, is a tropical weather pattern that occurs roughly once every three to seven years. An ENSO weather pattern is characterized by the above average warming of the surface temperature of the waters in the eastern portion Pacific Ocean. This warming pattern results in extreme weather, such as droughts and floods, in many areas of the world.

According to experts, satellite measures show that this El Nino is expected to be more powerful than previous ones. With a 85%-90% percent chance of El Niño hitting this Fall into Spring, people are being encouraged to prepare for what is being billed as the weather event of the decade.

The NOAA is predicting that this El Nino could rival the intensity of the record 1997 event that wreaked weather-related havoc causing 17 deaths and more than half a billion dollars in damage in California. Especially hit hard was Southern California and this weather event is expected to unleash more fury than in the 1997 El Nino year.

Many residents in the burn areas of Southern California are being urged to prepare as well as those who live in flood prone regions.

Additionally many cities/counties are preparing for the coming onslaught and many fire departments are readying swiftwater teams.

How To Prepare:

Make an itemized list of personal property, which includes clothing, furnishings and valuables. Take photographs of your home, both inside and out, and store in a safe place. This will help an insurance adjuster to settle any claims and to help prove uninsured losses.

Form an evacuation plan. The key to surviving an El Nino flood is to learn the safest route away from your home to a safe area, in case you need to evacuate in a hurry. Without an evacuation plan, you might turn from evacuees into refugees.

Prepare a cache of emergency supplies. This includes keeping a set of emergency cooking equipment, food, fresh batteries, flashlights and portable radios in good working order. If you live in an area prone to flooding, keep a steady supply of plywood, plastic sheeting and sandbags to protect your property.

Purchase flood insurance ahead of time. Often, flooding is not covered under natural disaster insurance, and will require a separate insurance policy specifically for flooding. Contact your insurance provider about flood insurance. Don’t wait until the rains come to apply! Most insurance companies have a 30 day waiting period before this policy can be effective. Keep your insurance policies and itemized list of personal property in a safe location.

By following these steps and keeping up-to-date on the latest El Nino developments, you and your family will be prepared, should the worst happen.

If you have any questions on El Nino preparedness, please email us at info@goldenstatelifeguards.com


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