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El Niño Preparedness Campaign


Last updated 10/22/2015 at 10:52am

The County of San Diego is getting ready for a wet winter when El Niño hits the coast. Last Tuesday, San Diego County Officials met to discuss important preparation issues to anticipate the impending storm. Among them were the National Weather Service, the County’s Department of Public Works, Office of Emergency Services, the California Department of Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Diego Fire-Rescue, County Water Authority and the National Resources Conservation Service.

Alex Tardy, Warning Coordination Meteorologist Manager with the National Weather Service, said that if current weather conditions continue as currently observed, this could be the strongest El Niño on record. The storm season may not bring big storms, but more frequent ones that could last until April of next year.

As part of El Niño’s preparedness campaign, the county has launched a new El Niño section to their and (Spanish) website to help residents be ready for a wet winter.

The County’s Department of Public Works are currently inspecting and clearing roads and drainage culverts. The county has also pre-approved emergency contractors and vendors to call upon during major storms. Also, the County Damage Assessment Teams are now being prepared for deployment for possible recovery options in case storms cause major property damage.

Residents should be prepared for flooding by going to to check if their property sits on flood-prone terrain, or a hillside with dead vegetation that could be washed away with rain. Water, mud and debris will flow downstream and could cause damage to properties. To avoid this, people should consider using mulch, terracing the slope, or planting shrubs.

People living in incorporated towns of the county that are at flood-risk, can pick up free sand bags at nine locations; click on the link to find the nearest location. They can also go to for the list and for instructions to best use the bags.

Additional preparedness steps for residents include: a family disaster plan (, emergency supplies (, and should also receive emergency alerts from the SDEmergency app on their phones. Residents should keep important documents in a plastic bag or in a bank deposit box, save receipts for expensive items, and have the policy and contact information of their insurance agent handy in case they need to file a claim.

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