Is your home El Nino ready?

With the temperatures in the 90s and the overall drought conditions we have endured lately, it’s hard to fathom the deluge of rain that meteorologists are predicting is in store for us this winter. That’s right, an onslaught of rain is predicted – a massive El Nino – that could be stronger than the rains that Northern California tolerated back in 1997. While the term El Nino is being referred to in many conversations these days, some might wonder what this exactly means?

According to the National Ocean Service, the name El Nino has been given to a shift in the trade winds over the Pacific Ocean, which causes a rise ocean temperature. While typically these winds blow ocean water toward Australia allowing colder water to rise to the surface, during El Nino, the winds stop so that the warm water remains and the cold water does not rise. This causes the temperature in the Pacific Ocean to change, and the warm water to evaporate, causing rain and humidity.

What’s different about El Nino and La Nina? They are opposite phases of what is known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. La Nina is the cold phase of this cycle.

So, while warm ocean temperatures are pointing toward a pretty big dose of rain here in California, it might be wise to take advantage of the dry weather and conduct a spot check of your home and prepare for possibly record rainy conditions. And working ahead of schedule might make weatherproofing your home more affordable and doable.

Here are 12 things we recommend you do before November:

  1. Inspect the roof: Make sure that your shingles are in alignment and that there are none missing. Look for misalignment and for any dips or bends in what should otherwise be straight or slanted. Look closely at your interior ceilings to make sure there are no dark spots or hints of water damage.
  2. Check windows and window frames: Make sure your windows are leak-proof. Check for missing sealant too. Resealing a window can prevent rot in the molding and leaks to the wall and sill.
  3. Unclog gutters: Take advantage of the warm weather and bust out your ladder to look inside your home’s gutters. Clear out any old vegetation and ensure that the drainpipes are all free of debris. Also check all drain gates and other drain systems on your property.
  4. Check your decks for any air bubbles or cracks: Decks are expensive to repair and are prone to water damage. Seal your deck one last time before winter and make sure all exposed nails or metal hinges are covered to prevent premature rusting.
  5. Kill any mold: Mold thrives in moist conditions, so check your home for any signs of mold. Eradicate immediately so that the moist conditions don’t perpetuate into a larger problem.
  6. Sandbag: If you live at the bottom of a slope or hill or in a strange plot where rainwater might clog near your home, consider stocking up on sandbags. You might even consider this if your garage has is angled downward. Don’t wait until the last minute to run out and purchase them. Preparation is key.
  7. Consider mulch: Bare soil has a hard time absorbing heavy rainfall, particularly when the ground has been dry for so long. To avoid clogged drains and erosion, consider a layer of mulch – it will slow the rate the rain reaches the soil.
  8. Check stucco: While hairline cracks in your home’s stucco can be OK, anything larger might need to be fixed before heavy rainfall. Inspect your home’s stucco to prevent any water damage.
  9. Inspect your heater: The last thing you want is to be stuck inside during a storm without heat. Make sure your heater has been serviced and is in working order. Same goes for your fireplaces too – make sure they are usable and safe.
  10. Stock up on Emergency Supplies: As with any change in climate or potential natural disaster, it’s always good to have some extra supplies on hand. Consider stocking up on food, keeping a supply of water and having flashlights, candles, matches and blankets handy. Stormy conditions can cause power outages, so being prepared can keep your family warm and comfortable.
  11. Prepare list of experts: Take the time now to prepare a list of people or companies you will use should an emergency strike, like a roof leak or a pipe burst. Having the list handy will save you time in the event of a home emergency.
  12. Continue to Conserve: And while we’re all hoping to have plentiful rainfall this winter, experts are still saying it might not be enough to declare an end to our drought. So consider continuing to monitor your water consumption even if it’s pouring rain outside…
Joyce and Tatum