Preparing for Storms During El Niño
Do you know the difference between El Niño and La Niña? Roughly translated, El Niño means "The Little Boy" or "Christ Child" while La Niña means "The Little Girl."
More importantly, whether the Pacific Ocean's conditions are in the El Niño, La Niña or a neutral phase can impact the frequency and intensity of storms, and the risk of storm damage in Los Angeles and across Southern California.
How Does El Niño Affect LA Weather?
During an El Niño phase, weaker surface winds lead to a rise in the Pacific Ocean's surface temperature. The warmer the temperature of the ocean, the more the atmosphere above it moves.
The effect is an increase in instability and a higher risk for more intense storms and rains, particularly over the southern part of the United States, including Los Angeles and So Cal in general.
The shift to a weak El Niño phase happened earlier this year and likely contributed to our wet winter and spring. That rainfall may have increased the risk for summer wildfires, although that's a separate issue altogether.
But El Niño conditions also typically last 9 to 12 months, so the potential remains for intense rainstorms throughout this summer and into next fall and winter.
Preparing for El Niño Storms
Because rainstorms an infrequent concern to property owners in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, many people don't think about preparing for a storm until it arrives, and by then it may be too late.
Should rainstorms cause flooding or water damage to your home or business, be sure to call SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away. We can begin assisting you in your clean up and recovery efforts immediately.
In the meantime, the best time to prepare your home or business for rainstorms is when it is dry. Here are five simple steps you can take right now to mitigate the potential for water damage from intense storms:
Check for and repair leaks in your roof, around windows and doors and in your basement or crawl space
Clean out your gutters and downspouts to maximize the flow of water away from your building
If you live near areas affected by wildfires, prepare for potential mudslides by having sandbags on hand, restocking first aid kits and, if necessary, creating or reviewing your evacuation plan
Consider investing in a generator; this is particularly important for businesses to minimize downtime should you lose power during a storm