How to Prepare for El Niño

How to Prepare for El NinoYou’ve likely heard that El Niño is coming. The Sierras are getting much-needed snow and El Niño is expected to intensify in the mid- to late-winter season, likely leading to extensive flooding. With the amount of press the mega-storm is getting, many California residents are wondering how to prepare for El Niño.

Luckily, PG&E has been preparing for El Niño since that last one occurred in 1997-1998. Our last El Niño season was laden with downed power lines, fallen trees, flooding, and mudslides. No one knows exactly what to expect with this year’s stormy winter, but meteorologists warn to expect similar conditions.

Is your home at risk of flooding or mudslides? Cal EMA provides a MyHazards portal, which helps residents determine which natural disasters are likely to occur in your area. If you determine that your home is at risk of flood or mudslide, prepare a family emergency plan. Planning for water-related emergencies is similar to preparing for earthquakes: you’ll need emergency supply kits that you can quickly grab, as well as copies of important documents, bottles of water, and necessary medications. Also consider purchasing flood insurance. In the event you need a 30-day grace period before your coverage begins, buy it today so that you’re covered before the strongest storms of the season hit California.

Regardless of your home’s flood danger, have 72-hours worth of food and water on hand in the event of major storms. Prepare your home for heavy rain with The Los Angeles Times’ 28 things to do to prepare for El Niño rains.

And what about driving conditions? It takes a mere 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a car. Incredible! As the National Weather Service states, “turn around, don’t drown” if you see flood conditions ahead. If your car comes in contact with a downed power line, stay in your car and call 911. Crews will de-energize the power line, making it safe for you to exit your car. As a last resort due to fire or flood, jump out of the car with your feet together and shuffle or hop away.

How are you preparing for the El Niño season? Join the conversation in the comments section below.

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