Changing weather patterns caused by El Niño can create dangerous, unpredictable weather conditions. Here’s how to prepare
We’ve all heard of El Niño but a lot of people don’t know how it may affect them or why they should be concerned. Every two to seven years, the water in the western Pacific Ocean becomes warmer than usual, which affects the weather all over the world. So no matter where you live, El Niño is something you should be aware of and prepared for. Here’s a guide on how best to prepare for the unpredictable weather that can occur as a result of El Niño.
About El Niño 2015-2016
According to NOAA experts, this year’s El Niño is expected to be strong and last through winter until it weakens in Spring of 2016. This means that we can expect certain weather conditions to occur like lots of rain in Southern US cities, from California to the Carolinas and even up the East Coast. In the desert cities, the air will be cooler as well as in the Southern Plains and the northern Gulf Coast. In the northern states, from the Pacific Northwest to the northern plains and the Great Lakes to the Northeast we can expect temperatures to be warmer than average during winter.
Results that be expected of El Niño
- • Storms, flooding and landslides
- • Tornados
- • Crop damage
- • Heavy rain
Take the following steps to be sure you’re prepared:
- Check your homeowner’s policy
Depending on where you live, it’s important to be prepared for things like heavy rains that cause floods, storms that can knock down trees, fences, power lines, etc. Review your homeowner’s policy to make sure you are covered for these kinds of damages. Most homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding, so if you are in a low-lying area or an area where El Niño has been known to cause flooding, it is a good idea to get a flood policy.
- Go over your home inside and out
Many people often wait until a hurricane threatens to prepare their home and property. It’s a good idea to do these things on a regular basis, but if you haven’t in while, it is recommended that you do so when El Niño approaches since you cannot be certain that you won’t be affected. Take some time to clear out debris in any storm drains and have your rain gutters cleaned. Trim any trees that have branches that could snap off during a storm and make sure all your fencing is secure.
- Create a disaster supply kit
Experts suggest that every household have a disaster supply kit that includes items they may need in the event of an emergency. The kit should include:
- • First aid items (band aids, antibiotic cream, gauze, instant cold packs, eyewash solution, hand sanitizer, syringe or medicine cup, cotton balls & swabs, non-stick sterile bandages, adhesive tape)
- • Flashlights
- • Water for drinking & washing
- • Canned food & opener
- • Solar powered cell charger
- • Any prescriptions
- • Pet food & water
- Plan out disaster evacuation
Just like when you teach your children what to do in case of a fire, you should go over evacuation plans with your family so you’re prepared if El Niño brings any harsh weather conditions. Everyone in your household should know where to go and what to do if there’s a flood, a tornado or any other event.
- Create a communication plan
Sometimes emergencies happen when everyone is out doing what they normally do, so it‘s a good idea to create a plan that details who will be the point of contact in the family. If something happens, everyone knows to call that person. And if for any reason that person is not available, establish a second point of contact.
When it comes to El Niño and other weather events, the best course of action is always to be prepared. Follow the tips outlined here and stay updated by listening to weather reports. Call us for assistance with making sure your homeowner’s coverage is up to par and to discuss any other policies you may need to protect your home and your family.