Are You Ready For El Niño? Here’s How To Stay Safe


  • Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition. Also, be sure the vehicle’s headlights are on any time you have your windshield wipers on continuously; it’s the law.
  • Reduce your speed and allow more time for your journey. The maximum posted speed limit may not apply under wet or icy road conditions.
  • If you encounter fog, slow down. Drive with your lights on low beam. Don’t stop on a highway unless it’s an emergency. And keep a close watch on your speed.
  • When traveling it’s recommended you carry the following items: Tire chains and tighteners, flashlight and batteries, flares, small shovel, windshield scraper, waterproof clothing that’s warm, blankets, snacks and drinking water. A cellphone with a backup power source might be the single most important safety item available.


  • Just 6 inches of rapidly moving floodwater can knock a person down.
  • It takes only 2 feet of water to float a large vehicle.
  • Floods can rise slowly or quickly, but most develop over a period of days.
  • Property damage from flooding adds up to more than $1 billion a year in the U.S.
  • Mudslides can easily exceed speeds of 10 miles per hour. How fast can you run?
  • Steep hillsides and canyons without vegetation provide prime opportunities for mudslides.


  • Locate your insurance policy and contact your insurance agent for any pertinent advice.
  • Develop a family preparedness plan in which you decide where to go if at home, school, work, outside or in a car when floodwaters rise.
  • Stock an emergency supplies kit, which should be checked and replenished every six months.
  • Bring in or secure any outdoor items that might cause damage or be lost in the event of high waters.
  • Before flooding, scrub bathtubs and sinks with bleach to remove bacteria, then fill them with water.
  • Move your valuable possessions to the highest areas of your house.
  • Be prepared to evacuate if requested to do so by the authorities.


  • Flash floods can turn a calm landscape into a raging river in a matter of minutes.
  • Most flash floods are caused by slow-moving thunderstorms, hurricanes or tropical storms, but also by dam or levee failures.
  • Flash floods can move boulders, rip out trees, knock down bridges and destroy buildings; now consider what they can do to you.
  • Walls of water, often filled with debris, can reach up to 20 feet.
  • If you receive a warning or are caught in a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.

For information on the Santa Barbara Real Estate Market contact Real Estate Expert Karen Spechler.

From the Los Angles Times. Sources: FEMA, City of Los Angeles, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Fire Department.