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.