What is all the buzz about the pending El Niño? Should we be concerned? El Niño is actually a condition, not a storm itself. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines El Niño as a period of at least three months during which sea surface temperatures have an average warming of at least 0.9 degrees F. These distinct rises in temperate produce a variety of consequences all over the world, from snowier conditions to elevated sea-levels. Typically, El Niño conditions occur 2-3 times per decade, so this is not a new phenomenon.
According to the NOAA, it is likely that the strength of this El Niño season will be record-setting, with high probability of it lasting
During El Niño conditions in the Northeast, people can expect a drier, warmer winter. Additionally, El Niño will bring more moisture to this region than usual. If temperatures drop below freezing when El Niño’s moisture arrives, the stage is set for serious winter storms. Although these conditions can have devastating effects, there is a glimmer of hope for other parts of the US: according to insurancejournal.com, El Niños have the ability to surprise and disrupt typical winter-storm tracks, which may mean significant rainfall could head to the west, aiding drought conditions in thirsty California.
With knowledge of altered weather patterns and effects of El Niño conditions, how can we prepare ourselves? El Niño effects will be strongest from December-January, so this is the time to stay vigilant and develop a plan. According to Michael Miller, a third-generation public adjuster of M. Miller & Son, preparation is everything. Don’t ignore pending flood warnings, as floods can occur suddenly. You should have a flood plan in place for your home and business, and keep cash, credit cards, and medicines handy. In the event of a storm in vulnerable areas, get to higher ground and protect home and business valuables by elevating them. Be prepared for power outages and invest in a full home or business generator. Furthermore, don’t forget about children, seniors, and pets as they will require direction and patience.
What can you do post-flood? Miller recommends separating damaged property from the un-damaged and calling your insurance agent to report the loss. It is crucial to document all damage in photos or videos so that insurance company representatives are able to see damages as they actually appeared during the immediate aftermath of the storm. Moreover, consider calling a licensed public adjuster who can assist in documenting your loss and make recommendations about post-loss recovery to get you back to the way you were in the shortest time period possible.
Stay alert, stay informed, and be prepared. May El Niño 2015 conditions pass us swiftly and peacefully.
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