10 Things San Diego Residents Need To Know To Prepare For El Nino’s Extreme Weather

San Diego has officially declared a state of emergency due to the much anticipated severe weather that will be inflicted by an El Nino this winter.  There have been significant weather events and other observations, such as abnormal ocean temperatures, which prove that we are indeed experiencing an El Nino already.  San Diego had more rain in just one day in November than we normally get during the entire month. While everyone in San Diego will gladly welcome rain, we must be prepared for the flooding, soil erosion, and other undesirable effects which may occur. 
The most recent EL Nino in California was in 1997/1998 and it caused 1.8 billion dollars of damage and hundreds of thousands of evacuations.  The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services held a summit in October to set forth a plan to protect the county’s people & property.  Bonded Inc. has put together this comprehensive list to make sure you have all the information and tools available to take action and prepare for the dangerous conditions that an El Nino may cause.
San Diego Homes Brace For El Nino
Sandbags surround a home in Imperial Beach that was partially flooded by storms during an El Niño season in 2010. / photo by Peggy Peattie * U-T
  1. Litter and debris are dangerous!  San Diego’s 84 mile drain system is clogged in many areas and unfortunately will not be completely cleared before the El Nino rains get severe.  The city has cleared 6 of the major clogged drains, but has been unable accelerate the repair process for other areas due to environmental permits and regulations.  The “state of emergency” will hopefully help city officials speed up the permit process to begin repairs in areas with extreme risk.  It is paramount that San Diego residents make every effort to keep their neighborhoods’ drains clear and streets clean!
  2. Flood insurance has a 30 day waiting period, so get yours today!  Home owners insurance does not typically cover floods.  Every year the US experiences $50 billion in losses due to flooding.  Nearly 2/3 of California properties in high risk areas do not have flood insurance.  FEMA provides federally subsidized flood insurance that costs California residents on average $700/year and the average claim is $40,000.  Be prepared financially for flooding and insure your property ASAP – visit the flood insurance site here.
  3. Sandbags can help protect your home or office from flood water.   Check out this Homeowners Guide for Flood, Derbis, and Erosion Control which includes detailed information about proper methods to use sandbags to protect your property.  There are hundreds of free sandbags available at fire stations throughout the county and the city has thousands in reserves – check out the full listing here.
  4. It is crucial that drivers obey all road barriers.  If you are trapped in your car, stay put inside the vehicle and call 911 for help.  Each year the city trains a 19 member “Swift Water Crew” that specializes in rescuing people from floods. Remain calm and do not get out of the vehicle.  Check out a video clip of the Swift Water Crew rescuing a man December 4, 2014.
  5. Maintain a “Basic Disaster Supplies Kit” in your home.  Keep cell phones charged and your gas tank at least half full.  This guide will help you create a kit that will keep your family and pets safe in any disaster.
  6. Make sure everyone in your family is informed and prepared!  Use this Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide.  Download the “SD Emergency” app on your smartphone to stay connected with up to date information. Use this website to find a shelter near you if you are evacuated.
  7. Keep these phone numbers handy!  Report flooding:  619-235-1000 Report clogged drains:  619-527-7500.  The city has arranged employees to be available 24/7 to respond to emergency situations and coordinate services.  You can report non-emergency road issues with this online form.
  8. Add your cell phone number and email address to the Alert San Diego database. The notification system already includes all land lines registered with the local phone company.  If your home or business phone is voice over IP (VOIP) it is not included. (This means that your phone uses the internet rather than the phone lines).  Add your phone numbers and email addresses to the list to be notified of emergencies in your area.  Visit the Alert San Diego website here.
  9. According to the the Union Tribune, drainage channels with the highest flood risk: Engineer Road in Kearny Mesa, Via De La Bandola in San Ysidro, Rancho Bernardo, Chollas Creek in southeastern San Diego, Auburn Creek in City Heights, Washington Channel in Mission Hills, Cottonwood Channel just north of National City and Parkside Channel just north of Bonita.  (These channels are now scheduled to be cleared during the fiscal year that begins next summer.)  Other areas with high risk are Fashion Valley, Sorrento Valley, Carmel Valley, Sweetwater River, Tijuana River Valley, Granville, Loma Portal and Murphy Canyon.
  10. Bonded specializes in Emergency Water Services and has multiple crews on call 24/7 to help you in your time of need.  Our experienced technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration.  Bonded works with most insurance companies and will go above and beyond to repair flood damage to your home.  Call Bonded immediately to get the best emergency flood service in San Diego County.  858.386.1660.


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