Disaster Officials Brace for Havoc from Historic El Niño


2015’s El Niño is ranked to be among the three biggest in half a century

In this Jan. 27, 1983 file photo, the landmark Crystal Pier in the San Diego community of Pacific Beach collapses under the force of surging waves during an El Nino storm. AP

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(TNS) – Federal disaster officials warned Tuesday that El Niño-fueled storms in California could inflict millions of dollars in damage this winter — from mud-soaked homes to broken levees to downed electrical lines — and said they’re taking steps to minimize the toll.

Worries over sewage

For the aftermath, public health officials are being put on notice about possible problems with sewage disposal, water contamination and subsequent illnesses, while shelters are being plotted in case people lose their homes.

Residents, too, have a responsibility to act, the report notes, recommending that homeowners purchase flood insurance and do basic property maintenance, such as clearing gutters and removing old trees, that can make a big difference in minimizing risk.

Certain parts of the state are identified as more vulnerable to El Niño than others. For example, areas hit hard by this year’s wildfire season, like Lake County, are susceptible to mudslides and flooding, according to the report.

“Because the earth is scorched, the water tends to run at a much quicker rate and doesn’t absorb into the ground,” Fenton explained. “If you live in one of those areas, you need to understand the risk in your area.” … MORE …

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