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10 Ways You Can Prepare for El Niño 2015

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There's been such a drought clutching the state of California that many have forgotten what rainy days even feel like. In fact, it's been seven years since we've experienced an unbridled soaking. If you were living in California in 2008 & thought it was severely soggy that winter, what occurred more than half a decade ago will be a pittance of what's to come; that is if the weather analysts are correct in their predictions.

Any type of weather, in any kind of climate is, at best somewhat predictable. However, recent events are showing clear signs the forecasting models are bearing worthwhile alarm. So much that The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center issued a warning this year could be at-parity or even worse than 1997-1998 season. During that time, it wasn't only wet, but deadly, killing 17 and costing more than $550 million in damage, according to a news report published by CBS San Francisco.

10 Ways You Can Prepare for El Niño 2015

Another organization, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is urging Californians to do much to prepare as this year is shaping-up to be quite active. That message is being echoed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is forecasting this year's El Niño will have a big impact on the position of the Pacific jet stream. What's more, NOAA is warning a "Godzilla" phenomenon is developing right before our very eyes (read: satellites). In addition to all of this, the Climate Prediction Center, or CPC, forecasts the southern part of the U.S., ranging from the western half of New Mexico, across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, will likely experience below average temperatures. While in California, Washington, and Oregon, temperatures will likely be well-above average.

There's been such a drought clutching the state of California that many have forgotten what rainy days even feel like. In fact, it's been seven years since we've experienced an unbridled soaking. If you were living in California in 2008 & thought it was severely soggy that winter, what occurred more than half a decade ago will be a pittance of what's to come; that is if the weather analysts are correct in their predictions.

Any type of weather, in any kind of climate is, at best somewhat predictable. However, recent events are showing clear signs the forecasting models are bearing worthwhile alarm. So much that The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center issued a warning this year could be at-parity or even worse than 1997-1998 season. During that time, it wasn't only wet, but deadly, killing 17 and costing more than $550 million in damage, according to a news report published by CBS San Francisco.

10 Ways You Can Prepare for El Niño 2015

Another organization, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is urging Californians to do much to prepare as this year is shaping-up to be quite active. That message is being echoed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is forecasting this year's El Niño will have a big impact on the position of the Pacific jet stream. What's more, NOAA is warning a "Godzilla" phenomenon is developing right before our very eyes (read: satellites). In addition to all of this, the Climate Prediction Center, or CPC, forecasts the southern part of the U.S., ranging from the western half of New Mexico, across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, will likely experience below average temperatures. While in California, Washington, and Oregon, temperatures will likely be well-above average.

The term El Niño refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. Typical El Niño effects are likely to develop over North America during the upcoming winter season. Those include warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States. Wetter-than-average conditions are likely over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, while drier-than-average conditions can be expected in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest. The presence of El Niño can significantly influence weather patterns, ocean conditions, and marine fisheries across large portions of the globe for an extended period of time.

- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Those same southern states, along with California, New Mexico, and Arizona, are all predicted to get more rain than usual for the season, with the heaviest concentration impacting southern California. If this weren't enough, El Niño won't be the only factor contributing to the soaking. Arctic Oscillation, which influences -- you guessed it -- Arctic air masses, will work in-concert with Madden-Julian Oscillation to further augment weather patterns and result in heavy rain storms in the Pacific Northwest. U.S. Drought Outlook predicts the Golden State could see some level of drought relief by the end of January, though just how much is unknown. The only two El Niño seasons on record, 1982-83 and 1997-98, look somewhat the same, but the similarities are limited. In those two years, California and most of Florida were heavily impacted, receiving the highest levels of November through March precipitation.

Because of its far-reaching impact, El Niño can bring devastation to practically any part of California. Even though we aren't exactly sure of what will happen, it's always better to be safe than sorry. You should have a plan ready-to-go for what Mother Nature has in-store, so, here are ten ways you can prepare for El Niño 2015:

1. Stock-up on food. Don't bother wasting money on perishable items, but do purchase plenty of non-perishable foods such as rice, soup, canned fruits and vegetables, and a lot of bottled water. If you're wondering just how much you ought to have on-hand, a week's worth to feed your entire family is a good rule-of-thumb. When winter does hit, walk to the nearest grocery store, if possible, and keep perishable purchases lean. After all, you don't want to buy food you'll have to throw out once it's gone bad due to a power outage.

2. Get plenty of backup batteries. Check all your battery-powered devices now to know what size battery they need to work. Buy enough batteries to power these each of these devices, such as alarm clocks, remotes, toys (to keep the kids entertained), personal grooming devices, flashlights, lantern lights, and so on.

3. Have your flash chargers ready-to-go. Even if you have a landline phone, which fewer and fewer Americans do anymore, don't count on it to work when the weather turns severe. Lines could easily go down and you'll need a way to communicate in an emergency. So, make sure your cell phone flash charge is full and ready to deliver a strong jolt of power. If you don't have one of these devices, get one now. Before you buy one or more, lookup your phone's battery capacity to make sure the charger will fully charge it when needed.

4. Anticipate the needs of your pets. Your four-legged, furry family members will need survival stocks, too. Think about a typical week and how much food Fido or Fluffy eat. Oh, and don't forget about any medication. You should also take the time to update tags, just in case your beloved animals get separated from you. Have plenty of toys and comfort items on-hand well before winter hits to keep your pet happy and content for at least one week.

5. Take plenty of pictures of your possessions. While your phone storage is about ready to max-out and you've synced so many pictures the cloud actually weighs more than your car, you probably don't have, or have very few, photos of your possessions. That flat screen television, your tech devices, appliances, and more all have value and it's doubtful you'd like to pay full price for them again.

6. Make sure your insurance is up-to-date. While you might have vehicle insurance, be it for a car, truck, SUV, minivan, or even a motorcycle, you may have gone for the cheapest deal. That means your coverage levels are probably insufficient in a serious incident. Look over your insurance coverage, including your home, to see if you're covered sufficiently. Remember, that flood insurance is usually a separate purchase, and if necessary, get a home wind-mitigation inspection to help lower your premiums.

7. Get a generator ready-to-go. When the power goes out, you might be able to tolerate the inconvenience for a while, but, after several hours the food in your refrigerator won't keep fresh. If you have a generator, you can have a temporary supply of energy. Get your generator ready now and don't run it indoors or even in your garage. It's must be in a well-ventilated, open area to work properly and to avoid gaseous poisoning.

8. Know where your water shut-off valve and electrical panel are located. If winter freezes your pipes, they can easily burst. Now is the time to know precisely where your water shut-off valve is located. The same goes for the main electrical panel in your home. You should not only know where these are located, but also, have a clear path to get to them in a hurry. Speaking of utility systems, have your HVAC system serviced as soon as possible.

9. Stock-up on walkway salt. For those who live in cold, icy climates, this is a no-brainer. Because it's not known what El Niño will do where, it's best to have walkway salt on-hand. Even if you live in an area that rarely gets snow, you'll be thankful to have it if it's needed.

10. Check your roof and clean out your gutters. Your roof will be a real life saver once winter sets-in. But before it does, have it inspected. In addition to checking the roof, now is the time to clean all the gutters and drains around your home and property.

Lastly, it's wise to make copies of all your important documents and keep all receipts of recently purchased items. While you're working on copying your documents, take some time to write out a list of licensed and experienced contractors. You'll need to call on one or more in the event El Niño pours down on and through your home.

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