Massive Storms Are Hitting California Right Now—Here Are Some Ways You Can Protect Your Home
Preparation tips for now and the future.
A bomb cyclone (along with other powerful storms) is currently making its way throughout California, causing disastrous conditions and damage in its wake. According to the National Weather Service, “Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect across the Sierra Nevada and Flood Watches remain over both central and coastal regions of California into early Friday. As the overall wet pattern remains locked in place over the West Coast, the next surge of moisture to move inland is forecast to enter northern California and southwest Oregon late Friday. Rainfall could become hazardous and lead to scattered instances of flash flooding over the coastal ranges of northern California.”
While rain is definitely welcome in a state that is still in a drought, many experts are saying the recent storms California has been facing have come too fast. The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, proclaimed a state of emergency throughout the state on Jan. 4 in response, which will help mobilize disaster response.
A powerful storm like the one Californians are currently experiencing can also mean possible damage to your home. And since we’re in the thick of it right now, there isn’t that much that can be done if you’re already dealing with roof leaks and other damage. But there are some steps you can take right now to protect your home and yourself. We’ve outlined some below, plus more tasks to take on post-storm to ensure your home is ready for the next one.
Know Your Risk
It’s important to know your home’s risk of flooding so you can take the necessary steps to protect it—like placing sandbags in certain spots. You’ll also want to make sure your home is properly insured—FEMA suggests getting a flood insurance policy even if your home is in a low- to moderate-risk flood zone.
Protect Your Possessions
Make sure your important documents and belongings are in a safe space, preferably somewhere that’s waterproof and fireproof.
Have Enough Food and Water at Home
It’s always a good idea to have food and water ready for any emergency. Ready.gov recommends having one gallon of water per person per day for several days (for drinking and sanitation) and at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food.
In addition to food and water, Ready.gov recommends these items for your basic disaster supplies skit: battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, whistle, dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape, moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, wrench or pliers, manual can opener, local maps, and a cell phone with chargers and a backup battery. See the whole list of supplies here.
According to FEMA, you should close any foundation cracks and seal walls in your basement to prevent any seepage.
Cover Vulnerable Areas of the Home
The Mercury News suggests getting plywood, duct tape, and plastic sheeting and using it cover spots like a vent, window wells, the lower part of a sliding-glass door, or a crawl space. It’s helpful to keep those things on hand for the next weather event.
Repair Roof Leaks
If you’re noticing roof leaks right now because of the storm, make sure to get them fixed as soon as you’re able to so you don’t have to deal with the same problem during the next one.
Clear Clogged Gutters
FEMA also recommends you routinely clean and maintain gutters, downspouts, and splash pads. You’ll also want to check that nearby drainage ditches and storm drains are clear of debris.
Cut Weak Branches and Trees
For the next storm, make sure you cut anything that is vulnerable to falling on your home.