Staying Afloat During El Nino

January 27, 2016

Are you and your business prepared for potential flooding and severe weather? 

We have already had 18 days of rain this year, dropping 7.71 inches this month alone, and we will continue to see more rain in the coming weeks and months. According to USGS "El Niño weather is not just a single severe storm, but it can increase the number and intensity of storms during a season, triggering floods, landslides, coastal erosion, and damage to fragile ecosystems. These changes may occur as early as October in an El Niño year, but typically are strongest in winter and early spring. Now mid-January, California is starting to feel the full force of these sequential El Niño winter storms." Weather projections predict 220% above normal rainfall in February and March, and with January coming to an end it is important to remember that severe weather could still be on it's way.  

We have already seen impacts from the recent storms with flooding in parts of our City and coastal erosion along West Cliff as storms bring large wave sets. For businesses, this is a great time to not only prepare for the potential impacts of El Nino, but to also develop systems to respond to emergencies of any kind: earthquakes, fires, floods, severe weather, etc. Being prepared can save a business time and money. Most businesses can save between 20%-90% of the cost of stock and movable equipment by taking action to prepare in advance of flooding. Furthermore, an estimated 25% of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home safety, so it pays to properly plan ahead and prepare for disaster situations.

West Cliff Collapse

Coastal Erosion on West Cliff Drive

There are lots of great resources available to help businesses and members of the Santa Cruz community:

Check out this Guide for Emergency Storm Preparation

Check out this handout on El Nino Preparedness: Tips to Help Your Business Stay Afloat

Another helpful to help you be prepared and stay informed in the event of a disaster is to be sure to register your cell phone and email address in the Emergency Notification system used by Santa Cruz Regional 9-1-1 personnel. The CodeRed notification system sends important messages to residents and businesses within Santa Cruz & San Benito Counties in the event of emergency situations or critial community alerts. The system has the capability of sending thousands of messages in a very short time based on geographic location of an incident. Examples of notifications include: evacuations, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports. You can register and find more information here:

In Depth: Cathy Calfo

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