Winter is just around the corner and warm ocean waters have people talking. Is this going to be an El Niño winter? If so, are you prepared?
El Niño winter weather patterns can bring strong winds, heavy rain, large surf and mudslides. NOAA is predicting a 70% chance of El Niño conditions for the months of January, February and March. Click Here To Read More about El Niño 2018. These winters storms can be beneficial for drought stricken California, but can also wreak havoc on communities.
Below are 10 ways to prepare your home and yourself for El Niño
1. Check your Roof
It's always best to look for issues before they are a problem. Check for any loose or damaged shingles or tiles. Inspect the flashing for any areas that are damaged or not secured properly. Look around chimneys and skylights as these areas frequently can have issues. If you have not had your roof inspected in a few years, it may be time to have one done. A good roofer will do a free inspection, an honest one will recommend repairs if possible and not jump straight to replacement. Ask me if you need a recommendation!
2. Clean your Gutters
Proper drainage is the key to protecting your house during heavy rains. Debris can often clog gutters causing water to flow under shingles and damage the wood underneath. If you have large trees in or around your yard it may be time to get on the roof and sweep out those gutter. Or better yet hire a professional to do the job for you. While your up there you will want to check that your gutters are not damaged and have proper slope. The slope allows the water to flow freely to the downspouts and not collect in low spots
3. Check your Downspouts
Downspouts can often become bent and damaged (that time your in-laws backed the car into your house). Pinches and bends in your downspouts can be an area for debris to colect and restrict flow. Look for bends and breaks from top to bottom. You can also run water from the top and look for good water flow out the bottom. You will want to look where the water is being deposited. Water that is deposited at the base of walls can become a problem over time and cause foundation issues. Simple down spot extensions can help move the water away from the base of your house and eliminate problems.
4. Inspect your Trees
Look at your trees and inspect overgrown areas or dead branches. Heavy winds can cause branches to break and become hazards as they fall to the ground. It's a good idea to have trees trimmed and thinned out. Soggy ground and high winds are a perfect recipe for a tree to fall over. Make sure yours isn't one of them.
5. Protect your Patio and Grills
Expensive grills, smokers and refridegratiors make look nice on your patio year round, but unless you want to replace them next summer you may want to think about protecting them. Hail and heavy rainfall can damage electronics and cause corrosion and rust. Look into buying covers and unplugging electronics that may short if overwhelmed by rainfall.
If you have ground level door ways or areas that always seem to collect water, it may be a good idea to grab some sandbags and store them on your side yard before you need them. Sandbags can be a great way to protect your home, but if you're running to Home Depot because water is flowing in your back door, you're already too late. Plan ahead and be prepared.
7. Check your Paint
Look for chips and cracks in your exterior paint and touch up as needed. Crack in paint allow water to intrude and cause bubbling behind the surface of the paint. This can lead to wood rot and additional chipping and peeling. Save yourself the headache of having to sand and repaint the whole house and touch it up beforehand.
8. Prepared for Power Outages
Power outages an be a scary surprise. Do yourself a favor and prepare for them before they happen. Have lanterns and flashlights ready for use. Make sure they have fresh batteries and you know how to work them. If the power does go out, keep the fridge and freezer closed. They will stay cool for hours if you're not poking in for a quick snack. Bottled water is always a good idea. Make sure you make a plan with your kids if the power does go out. Stairs in the dark can be very dangerous, specially for a terrified toddler.
9. Inspect Neighborhood Hazards
Know your neighborhood. Look for hazards that may become an issue. Look for large trees that could fall on your car or house, or old leaning power pole. Contact your city and see if there is something they can do. If you live on or around a hillside, mudslides could be a concern. Near the beaches, large surf could lead to flooding. There is not always something you can do to stop these things from happening, but being aware can help you react when they do.
10. Check your Fence
Wind can blow sections or complete fences over. Make sure fences are not rotting or damaged. Look around the posts where they meet the ground. If you do have areas of concern speak with your neighbors, they may be just as concerned as you are. Make a plan to repair or replace before it falls over. Falling fences can cause additional property damage and/or injure those on or around your property.
Lastly, we have had a very dry summer with no rainfall. Roads buildup with oil, rubber and debris. The first rain of the season is sure to cause slippery roads and dangerous driving condition. Slow down, pay attention and be courteous to other drivers. Not everyone is as confident driving in the rain as you may be.
Please contact me if you have any questions. I try to be more than just the guy that sells you a home. I want to be your first resource when it comes to anything regarding your home.