In a cruel, ironic twist of fate, California fears a very wet and rainy winter season.
El Niño is expected to bring bucketloads of water to California, but that's not necessarily a good thing. After being in an intense drought for four years, one would think the thought of rain – and a lot of it – is a wonderful thing for the water-wanting state. But that’s not how the world works, is it? According to Emergency Management, “too much rain coming down too fast could sink low-lying communities,” of which there are plenty.
Unfortunately, that’s what happens when it pours rain over parched ground. The soil is just too hard, too closed-off to water to allow much at all in. Water will just collect on the surface, traveling the route of least resistance. This could mean your home will get flooded, and you can almost guarantee the streets will turn to rivers. California most definitely needs rain, but this might be a little bit counterproductive when it comes to beating the drought.
Just one wet winter won’t do the trick, either. Phys.org describes in more detail what is needed for the drought to subside. For starters, one doctoral student stated that California needs “several consecutive wet years, and specifically several where substantial snowpack persists into spring so that it can slowly replenish our groundwater aquifers and provide long-term relief from drought.”
For that to happen, California would need to receive more than double their annual precipitation this winter. The chances of that happening? Not good. Considering it’s never happened before, that kind of tells you what the state is up against.
Despite not curing the drought, it will at least be some sort of relief to the folks there. However, watch out for flooding.
The best time to start preparing, of course, is now. Throughout the Bay Area, trees are being trimmed, creek beds are being shored up, and other preventative measures are being taken so that when the storms do come, things won’t be as bad as they could be.
Likewise, today is the day you should start preparing for floods and heavy rain. This goes for you folks not living in California, too. Just because El Niño and floods are expected in California doesn’t mean you won’t get any flooding in your neck of the woods, too.
One thing to consider going in to this wet time of year is flood insurance. The time to act for that really is now, because flood insurance doesn’t activate until 30 days after you get it. So, if a storm is forecast and then the floods rise up to your door, the time for getting insurance is well past.
Following the example of the Bay Area workers wouldn’t be a bad thing, either. They’re going around taking care of trees, gutters, storm drains, and other things before they become a problem. You can do the same. Take a look at your home. How flood proof is it? Do you have sandbags to keep the water back should your street start flooding? Are the gutters on your home cleared of leaves, twigs, and other debris? Are your trees trimmed so they won’t crack and fall on your home in a strong storm? These are just a few things to watch out for.
Floods can also cause a danger while driving. When you come to a flooded street, the National Weather Service says “it is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.” Their motto is Turn Around Don’t Drown, and that should be your motto, too.
It is fortunate that California will be receiving more moisture, but that will come with a cost. You know it’s coming, so act now and start preparing. You don’t want to be caught high and dry (so to speak), especially when you have the time to get ready.
How are you prepared for El Niño?