El Niño continues to gain strength in the Pacific Ocean. The latest forecast increased the urgency for both government agencies and property owners to prepare for possible flooding.
Residents that live in low-lying beachfront homes should be aware of the flood risks.
Residents that live in drought-stricken or fire-ravaged canyons should be aware of the flood and mudslide risks.
Residents can locate a flood map by entering the addresses at www.msc.fema.gov/portal (Federal Emergency Management Agency website).
Checklist for Homeowners and Renters
Register your cell phone for emergency notifications and download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app from iTunes or Google Play.
Inspect your roof for any trouble areas.
Clean out your rain gutters and downspouts to ensure that there is no debris blocking or ice stopping the flow of your gutter.
Stock up on salt for your walkways to prevent ice from forming.
Store emergency repair materials (sandbags, heavy plastic sheeting) in a safe dry place.
Have materials on hand to divert water: sandbags, concrete edgers and straw-waddle tubing.
Invest in an emergency generator that turns on automatically when the power goes out.
If you live on or near a hill, talk to your neighbors. Drainage from your yard may cause water to damage your neighbor’s house below. Or your neighbor’s drainage may flood your home.
Have an arborist check your trees. Trees may look fine, but can be weak. Wet branches weigh more and they can break.
Find your water shut-off valve and familiarize with it to prevent burst pipes. Learn how to turn off your automatic sprinklers.
Check decks and balconies. Make sure water flows away from your walls and foundation. Store your outdoor patio furniture or securely cover it.
If your crawl space, garage or basement could be flooded, think of installing a sump pump.
Put together preparedness and emergency supply kits for your home and car.
Replace your windshield wipers. Check your car battery, tires, brakes, lights in your car, headlights, brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers.
Don’t forget the pets
Make sure your pets' tags are up-to-date. Storms can be disorienting for pets when they’re outside. If it’s too cold for you, it's too cold for your pet. Although most animals have fur coats, this alone does not provide adequate protection from the elements. Never leave a pet alone outside during a snowstorm. If they must go outside for relief. Stay with them the entire time.
What to Do Once a Flood Has Begun
Monitor radio and TV news closely for information about weather conditions, flooding in your area and safety precautions being advised.
Be prepared to leave immediately if an evacuation is ordered.
Stay away from flood channels and flowing rivers. Don’t try to cross flooded areas and never enter moving water.
Stay away from steep slopes that may become unstable when saturated.
Look for tilted trees, telephone poles, fences or walls, and for new holes or bare spots on hillsides.
Never touch a downed power line, which can cause serious injury or death. Call 9-1-1 to report it.
If trapped in your vehicle, stay with it. If possible, relocate to the hood if water continues to rise.
Be alert when driving. Roads may become blocked or closed due to hazards.
Floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and factories. If your home has been flooded, protect your family’s health by cleaning up right away. Throw out foods and medicines that may have been affected.