2016 is here, and it brings with it resolutions, celebrations and weather. We hope you all had a very happy New Year, and can look forward to the next twelve months of growth and prosperity. This year could bring a little extra with it, however, and as we look toward spring, it is important to remember that the changing weather will also bring changing risks. The phenomenon we call “El Niño” has a very specific definition related to an anomalous warming of ocean waters along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador during the end of certain years, which in turn can affect local weather patterns. What we now popularly call “El Niño” often refers to the wet and stormy weather that can result from these ocean flows.

However we define it, the National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) predicts that such a pattern may be staying with us through the upcoming spring. Given the recent drought conditions in Southern California, which make the area particularly prone to storm damage, it would be well to review and update our protections against heavy rains and flooding. Remember, flooding is the #1 natural disaster in the United States.

You can begin to prepare for heavy rains by taking at least the following steps:

  • Review your current homeowners insurance policy and become familiar with what is and is not covered, as damage due to flooding is typically not covered.
  • Act to obtain flood insurance for your home (and business) and its contents.
  • Make a flood plan and plan evacuation routes.
  • Itemize and take pictures of possessions.
  • Keep valuable items and family heirlooms on the upper floors of your home or building.
  • For more information about how to prepare for a flood, click here.
  • To learn more about flood risks associated with heavy rains, download this fact sheet. 

Homeowners insurance may cover some risks, such as mudflows as a result of the flooding of usually dry land, such as most of Southern California. This is different, however, from a slope failure, slope subsidence or even landslide; these latter events are often not covered by typical homeowners insurance, and parties are often on their own in dealing with these localized disasters and their effects. 

If you are affected by flooding or its secondary effects, whether in your own home or due to your neighbor’s property, don’t allow the damage to grow – contact David H. Pierce & Associates PC to learn about your possible rights or liabilities. We have broad experience in these matters, and can put you back on stable ground quickly.


El Niño doesn’t just affect your present home; it can have consequences for your home-to-be. Rough weather can significantly delay the building of your new home, or require significant changes to be made in its construction. Further, if you are a part of the construction industry trying to build either commercial or residential properties during this season, those consequences can be multi-billion dollar issues. 

Don’t let these issues get out of hand. When storms or other conditions, natural or man-made, affect your ability to do business or threaten your working relationships, David H. Pierce & Associates PC can step in to help calm the waters. We have a long and successful history of practice in the construction industry, and we are particularly aware of the needs of developers, builders, and their clients when the going gets tough. We can get you going again.


The soaking of heavy winter and spring storms will take its toll on soil stability and cause the usual mud slides, slope subsidence and other informal changes of address that appear in the news every year. Out of the home, of course, you are still vulnerable to threats caused by the abnormally heavy rains and flooding. These threats take the form of road flooding and hydroplaning, mud on the street surfaces and reduced control of vehicles (and drivers) more used to the dry conditions of the past several years.

We have already seen rainfall equaling the heaviest downfall of 2015, bringing with it related traffic snarls and accidents, and we can look for more of the same moving forward through the winter and spring. Unfortunately, we all know that a decrease of control of a moving vehicle equals an increase in probability of injury to the driver and to those outside the passenger compartment. 

If you are unfortunate enough to be injured in an accident this year, be sure to make your own good luck by contacting David H. Pierce & Associates PC. Getting you back on your feet and back on the road is one of our specialties – our experience in this area helps to minimize any loss to you while reducing stress on you and your family.