Preparing for El Niño and El Monstruo

It’s been almost two decades since the last strong El Niño, but in the wake of Tropical Storm Dolores that dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on Los Angeles last month, many are speculating that our region’s next El Niño may already be here. Talk to experts and you’ll hear that the weather phenomenon sports a dual personality. El Niño may bring much-needed drought relief to our state, but it could also mean El Monstruo-type storms creating disastrous flooding and mudslides. With those type of predictions, now is the time to start prepping for both!  The City of Los Angeles is already taking steps to prepare its personnel, equipment and facilities for winter rains. Here are four ways that you can prepare your home and neighborhood:

  1. Prepare Your Property.  LAStormwater.org includes tips for preparing your home for wet weather. They include things like clearing debris, picking up any trash in the gutter and obtaining sand bags from the Los Angeles Fire Department
  2. Prepare Your Neighborhood. Take a walk around your neighborhood and check the status of neighborhood catch basins, the curbside openings to the municipal storm drain system. If you see a clogged catch basin, call the City’s Storm Drain Hotline at (800) 974-9794 to report it so that LA Sanitation can get it cleaned out before the rains begin.
  3. Prepare to Harvest Rain. Big storms mean big returns on rainwater that can be captured in rain barrels and used at a later date for irrigating outside landscaping. The Metropolitan Water District is still offering a rebate for rain barrels for City residents. If you already have rain barrels, make sure they’re in good working order before the rains begin in earnest. 
  4. Prepare for Continued Drought. Most experts agree that one El Niño winter will not end California’s historic drought. So, continue taking those 5-minute showers, following LADWP’s outside watering restrictions and finding more creative ways to save the drop.
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