A Silicon Valley El Nino? Here's what to do if it happens.


How to prepare for massive rains

Most Californians are bemoaning the drought that has plagued our state for a long time. But this winter, we may be bemoaning something new: rain. Yes, weather experts are predicting that a currently forming El Nino could bring massive, wet storms to the Golden State and create numerous flooding problems.

We haven’t had to think much about flooding lately, but if it comes, we’ll be glad we prepared for it. Here are some tips.

Your roof

Either check your roof yourself, or have someone trained in roof inspection do it. You’re looking for loose or deteriorated shingles, as well as tiles that run in a wave shape. Your roof is really the only thing between you and the rain, so make sure it’s in full operational condition.

Rain gutters

Clogged gutters can easily lead to rain intrusion into the home. Ensure that rain drainage has a clear path through all gutters. Do this before the rain starts.

Turbine vents

When a big rain is forecast, make sure the vents on your roof are secured. You can purchases turbine vent covers, or you can make them yourself with heavy-duty plastic such as trash bags. A little rain probably won’t cause a problem, but if it’s going to rain “cats and dogs,” you’re smart to cover your vents.


If your windows are single-pane, consider reinforcing the perimiters with a strong layer of duct tape. Single-pane windows will only go so far in protecting against outside water from rain.

Sand bags

It’s a good idea to purchases some sand bags before major rains begin. Sand bags are excellent flood stoppers, providing the water level isn’t too high. Bags can be placed around any ground-level doors or other openings in your home that you believe might be prone to leakage.

Sump pumps

Plainly stated, a sump pump can save your home in the event of a serious flood. If an El Nino hammers our area, flooding in certain rooms such as basements and anything else that’s below ground level is a distinct possibility. Having a sump pump on hand will let you address this emergency quickly.

Evacuation plan

Finally – and we certainly hope it never comes to this – you need a general evacuation plan. If flooding is severe and can’t be stopped, know ahead of time what you need to take from the home, how you’ll pack it, where you’ll put it in transit, etc. When a home floods, the last thing the people who live there need is to be scrambling around at the last minute, trying to decide what to take and what to leave.

It sure would be nice to get some rain throughout the Bay Area, but rain can bring its own set of problems. The key is to prepare ahead.