While rains can be soothing and even delightful to an extent, rainstorms are nothing but a pain that can leave you helpless. One of the most popular terms that you must have heard and read in the weather forecasts when it comes to rainstorms is El Niño.
El Niño is a climate cycle that occurs in the Pacific Ocean. It is not a single event but a series of events that can be related to the warming up of the surface temperatures of the ocean. It can affect weather patterns and temperature on a global level. El Niño is associated with rainstorms because these changes that it brings with itself are because of the cycle of weather changes that occur due to it. Heavy amounts of rainfall accompany these changes.
El Niño, once it arrives, lasts for the most part of the year, the typical duration being from nine to twelve months. The long term of this climatic event leads to some areas being affected by drought while others, flooding due to excessive rainfall. The oceanic conditions and marine fisheries are also affected across the globe because of El Niño.
An El Niño cycle may occur in every two to seven years which is why you need to prepare for it every time its cycle is close to arrival.
We have concocted a list of tasks that you can do to make sure that you face the El Niño rainstorm from a much safe and secure place.
1. Home Sweet Home
Just like charity safety too begins at home. You cannot help anyone else unless you help yourself and the best way to do that is to safeguard your home first. Rains equal water, excessive rains equal flooding and leakages.
The first thing you should do is to get a flood insurance coverage for your house if you don’t already have one. If you have it, then you need to check with your insurer to know if it offers you enough coverage from the possible damage that the El Nino rainstorms may bring with them.
If you live on a hill, especially under someone else’s home then you must go to them and get to know where all the water from their house drains. If it drains through a path that is not natural then the run off from their house may damage yours.
If you have any weak spots in your house, any leaks, broken pipes or blocked drainage, then your foremost priority should be to get it all fixed.
If there were no leak points before then, check for new ones in the wooden part of the house, especially if the weather has been quite dry lately. Dryness leads to the wood getting shrink thereby leading to widening of the joints. This expansion increases space and creates leak points. If you are not sure yourself, you may call your roofer to check them for you.
Check the flashing connections of your roof to make sure that there are is no debris on them. Take time out to get the gutters and downspouts cleaned up so that excessive water can easily drain out. Make sure you clean them as and when you get the time because El Niño brings abundant rainfall.
Get a quick seal and put it on the joints where the gutters are attached to the roofline. Also, apply it on points and holes from where the cables enter the house through the exterior walls.
A generator is a useful commodity that you can invest in as a step for preparation. It is even more useful if you live in an area in which power outages are quite common. Choose a kick in or portable generator which can start as soon as the power goes out.
Installing a sump pump is a smart way of making sure that the excess rainwater does not break in your basement and garage. Do not rely too much on your drainage system because sometimes the rain water can be so large in quantity that it can overpower the best of drainage systems. If you already have a sump pump then call a plumber to get it repaired.
If the exterior of your home is made of wood, then paint it with a water resistant paint so that the cracks in it don’t allow the water to leak in. The paint will also prevent the wood from rotting because of constant contact with water.
If you have sloping roofs, then make sure that the water that flows down from them moves into the drains and away from the walls.
Recheck your window glazing compound. Due to dryness, there are high chances that it may have shrunk and pulled back from the window. This loosening will allow the rainwater to penetrate inside through the windows. Recaulk these window panes.
If you have had an experience of bugs and ants taking refuge in your house when the rain strikes then, you should call pest control or an exterminator to get the cleaning done before history repeats itself.
Keep repair materials such as sandbags and heavy plastic sheetings in a safe place in your house. Make sure that the safe place you choose is dry as well.
Your vehicle needs to be ready to take you wherever you want if it comes down to that. The first thing you should focus at is the tires which should have 50 percent of their tread life left in them, at the very least. If it is any less than that, they will not allow displacement of water through their grooves.
The tires should be properly inflated. If they are underinflated then even half an inch of water will make your car become a hydroplane but not one with good speed.
The car wipers must be ones that can battle off water from the windshield of your vehicle. You should not wait till a rainstorm to realize that the wipers of your vehicle are too frail to handle the quantity of water that falls on them.
Car lights must be in working condition. You should also have a spare of all the car lights with you just in case any of them stops working.
If the battery of your vehicle has been sitting in it for last three years without any replacement, it’s time to get it checked by a mechanic. If it has been there for five years, it is better just to have it replaced.
Brakes are another thing you need to focus on. Get the brake pads replaced if they are worn out, else just get them checked. Also, ensure that there is enough brake oil.
3. Emergency supplies
If there is sudden emergency you must have enough supplies to help you get through at least three days by yourself. This emergency supply kit will include:
– Nonperishable food: Go for MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat. You can consume these meals right out of the box. They do not require any specific storage conditions. MREs also come with a self-activated heating feature that allows you to heat the meals right before consumption. This feature ensures that you have a hot meal even if it is on a highway.
MREs are manufactured in a hermetically sealed environment which does not allow any foreign material to gain entry inside the MRE food packets. This feature ensures that the food inside the MRE packs remains healthy and fit for consumption whenever that package is opened for the first time.
MREs come in a lot of variety when it comes to food. They also contain eating utensils which make them the perfect emergency food as you do not have to rely on anything except the MRE itself, to have a full and healthy meal.
MRE food pack provides approximately 1300 calories to a person that are more than enough for survival in a day.
MRE packets are designed in an impact resistant way. Even if they get wet due to rain, the food inside will remain unaffected and retain the same quality with which it was packed.
MREs have a long shelf life. An MRE packet can be consumed anywhere between 3 days to 5 years from the date it was packed. This feature again makes MRE perfect to be considered as an emergency food.
All the features that MRE have make it a better option than any other kind of food that can be deemed to be packed for emergency purposes.
– Water: This is even more essential than food because it is the first basic need of survival after oxygen. MREs offer water supplies as well. The water is well treated to last for days. Depending on the daily consumption of each person in your family and the number of family members you can buy MRE water supplies well in advance of the El Nino rainstorm.
– First Aid: The wet weather brings with it a host of diseases. You also need to be more careful of cuts and bruises that you get during the rains as they are more susceptible to problems as compared to the ones you get during the dry weather. For that, you need to keep your first aid kit ready with all the necessary supplies including antibiotics, antiseptic lotions, anti-allergens, bandages, prescription drugs and mosquito repellants.
– Miscellaneous: Other miscellaneous items would include the following warm clothing, flashlights with extra, fresh batteries.
Do not forget important documents which would include your mark sheets, insurance policy papers, certificates and mortgage papers. Put all of these all along with other valuables in a safe box preferably waterproof at a high level in your house.
You must take it upon yourself to spread awareness amongst other people about how problematic El Nino can be, especially if they are new to your part of the country and this kind of weather. Making all these preparations will take time. As soon as the warning of the El Nino rainstorms is issued, you must not wait to start because there is a lot that you need to take care of so you don’t face challenges when the weather finally sets in. Preparations will make everything fall into place up to a great extent as compared to what will happen if you meet the rainstorms unprepared. The key is to stay prepared and stay alert.