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Are you prepared for El Niño?

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El Niño conditions could lead to significant rainfall this winter.

Prepare for the effects of El Niño with the tips below.

Know your individual risk
Check your property and clear your drains and rain gutters of debris.

Trim trees near your home
Make roof repairs before it starts to rain. Downed trees and branches can knock out power or seriously damage homes and vehicles during a storm. If you need to hire someone, make sure to hire a licensed contractor. Always ask to see their license, proof of insurance and never pay upfront. For more information go to the Department of Consumer Affairs site.

Consider flood insurance
Most homeowners’ policies typically do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance can be pricey, but residents who live in flood-prone areas may qualify for a federal discount. Keep in mind, most insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect.

Get sandbags
If you believe your home is at risk for flooding, check with your local fire station to see if they provide free sandbags. The sandbags can divert water away from your home and provide up to 2 feet of protection. Your city and county government should also have more information.

Make an emergency kit for your family
You need an emergency supplies kit to last you and your family up to three days, according to FEMA. Some critical items to include: a flashlight, radio, extra batteries, canned food and can opener, water bottles and medicine and a first aid kit, a whistle, a cell phone with external chargers or solar powered chargers from stores such as REI, prescription medications, eye glasses, formula and diapers for babies, and pet food and water for animals.

Experts also advise families to have an evacuation plan
Make sure the plan is easy for all family members to understand and be prepared to leave immediately if an evacuation is ordered.

For additional information on how to prepare for El Nino in your specific area, you can visit these links: http://www.lacounty.gov/elnino

While climate models hint that the coming El Niño can rival or surpass the 1997-98 El Niño, most experts admit the weather phenomenon is as truly temperamental as a toddler. The coming rainfall may be unpredictable, but one thing is not: a decade of drought and catastrophic wildfires have left the parched landscape as ill-prepared for torrential rain as it is in need of it.

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