Many Californians view El Nino, an extreme weather event that typically brings heavy rainfall to the West Coast, as the solution to the state’s drought problem. Unfortunately, the Golden State is also at risk of severe flooding, and the added effects of global warming have given FEMA cause for alarm. Due to numerous wildfires that ravaged California this summer as well as hardened soils after four years of drought, many areas are at a greater risk of flooding. Dry, scorched soil devoid of vegetation cannot absorb water very well, and during times of heavy rainfall the water simply races over the surface. Additionally, the warming oceans caused by global climate change are expected to make the coming El Nino one of the strongest in recent decades. El Nino rains are expected to begin on the West coast this winter, and FEMA is urging California homeowners to take action. Typically, only one-third to one-half of U.S. residents who live within flood risk zones have flood insurance, according to FEMA’s deputy associate insurance administrator. Most standard homeowner policies do not cover flood damage. Some Californians have already experienced dangerous flooding this year: earlier in October, heavy rains caused massive mudslides in Antelope Valley, burying cars and trucks along Interstate 5 and Freeway 58. There is a 30-day waiting period for new flood insurance policies to go into effect, so California homeowners would be wise to err on the side of caution and sign up for adequate coverage while it is still dry. More information on flood insurance and risk can be obtained at the websites floodsmart.gov and Ready.gov.
Post last edited on: 2015 November 02