Weather The Storm – How to Prepare and Protect Your Home
It’s no secret that global weather patterns are shifting. What was once thought of as a problem only future generations would have to reconcile, global warming is no longer looming ominously in the future, it’s significant impact is now being felt on a day-to-day basis.
California has already had it’s fair share of unpredictable and extreme weather in 2017. Surging storms have caused flooding and mudslides, subsequently forcing entire communities to respond reactively. As rainfall has wreaked havoc for entire towns and private homeowners across the state for the past month, it’s wise to reframe how you look at these storms – not as freakish outliers – but as the new normal.
The state’s most recent storms, affectionately referred to as “The Pineapple Express,” are the result of increased atmospheric pressure, in which tropical air from the pacific is sandwiched between varying pressure system. This kind of storm is not foreign to the state, however, it is occurring more frequently. California reports on average, between 3-5 storms of this nature per year; and just two months into 2017, the state has seen over a dozen. While the rain received most of the attention, the high winds created by this pressure system are also cause for concern; in addition to taking down numerous power lines, these winds also contributed to the devastating mud slides which wiped out many residences.
While the rain has since ceased, the state has not fully recovered from water damage. Major rivers in Northern California are at a tipping point – literally. As of February 20th, the state determined the San Joaquin river to be at a “Danger State” as its water levels crept scarily close to the top of its levees. Additionally, residents of Contra Costa County have already been affected by 2017 rain swell as major roads have been washed out from flooding creeks. While there is no way of knowing with 100% accuracy what the remaining weeks of winter and early spring months have in store for the state, California residents are encouraged to take appropriate measures to prepare for potential continued storm damage.
Recently, MIT scientists released findings on the dynamic relationship between global warming and California weather over the course of the next century. Their research, partially supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and The Department of Energy, takes into consideration patterns in atmospheric data to predict the frequency of heavy rainfall in the state. While this particular study focuses on changing weather patterns over a significant amount, their findings could help states like California, better prepare for a changing climate.
It’s true that humans cannot outmaneuver mother nature, but they can prepare themselves – and their homes – for nature’s violent mood change. But all is not lost; there are several things homeowners can do to protect their properties from irreparable damage.
Insure – It’s time to take a closer look at your homeowners insurance. Standard homeowners insurance packages do not always cover water damage. It’s true that many packages do cover “sudden water damage,” but the specifics and criteria are murky at best. If you are not well versed in what is covered or not by your homeowners insurance, you may find yourself in a compromising situation should your property be affected by future storms. Unfortunately, as many Californians now know firsthand, inadequate water damage coverage has the potential to completely ruin every facet of a home structure. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so take the time to review and communicate with your insurance agency.
Repair – Leaky roof, foundational cracks, stuffed gutters – these common home annoyances may seem small and inconsequential, but paired with a major storm, they could very well be the determining factor between a few minor repairs and thousands of dollars of damage.
Prepare – From backup generators to mapped out flood plans, you can never be too prepared when it comes to dealing with a storm. Refer to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety’s tips on storm and property preparation to minimize and potential damage. So often when we think of potential factors that could contribute to structural damage, we only consider what is inside or attached to our homes.
As California’s weather patterns shift due to global warming, the threat of more consistent storms grows increasingly severe. Homeowners across the state have a lot at stake, but they also have the opportunity to take the time to prepare and bolster themselves, and their homes, against future inclement weather.