Protect your Home from Southern California’s Mudslides
A record El Niño phenomenon is likely to bring wet and potentially treacherous weather to Southern California this winter. Meteorologists are predicting record warm temperatures off the Pacific Ocean, which is a recipe for huge storms. And we have seen every time that El Nino + California = mudslides.
Mudslide protection in California is serious. It’s not too late. Get prepared. Contact home design and remodeling experts to implement some mudslide protection measures.
The Perfect Storm
Heavy downpours in SoCal are usually accompanied by dangerous mudslides. This year the experts are predicting massive mudslides as a consequence of extraordinary weather, the long drought, and a bad wildfire season.
Drought and fire destroy the vegetation that holds hillsides in place, leaving the soil vulnerable to torrential rain. Charred soil doesn’t soak up rainwater. Add to that, we get so much seismic activity, constantly shifting the landscape and how it holds together (or doesn’t).
Last December in Camarillo (just down the road from us here in Burbank), 13 houses were made uninhabitable and many more partially buried. Worse still was in January 2005 when ten people were killed in La Conchita and dozens of homes wrecked.
If your home is at risk, take all possible steps for mudslide protection. You may think you’re safe, especially if you’ve never had a problem before. But if your home is on a slant or any part of a hillside (top, middle or bottom), the danger is always there.
The first steps to giving your Californian home some mudslide protection are about finding information:
- Check your insurance. If your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover damage caused by mudslides, you should take out extra coverage or change to an insurer that does. Read your policy carefully and never assume anything.
- Check out your area. Mudslides most definitely happen where they have happened before. Look for mudslide history along with recent wildfires.
Take Measures to Protect your Home from Mudslides
Use some design and remodeling expertise for your home:
- Have flexible pipe fittings installed on your water and gas lines. They are less likely to break if the ground shifts.
- Have your electrical panels, water heater, furnace and/or air conditioning unit moved to a higher floor in your home. This involves some redesigning and remodeling, but if it’s possible to keep electricity and heat on, that’s a huge help.
- Build retaining or diversion walls around your property, without compromising the safety of your neighbors. Contact a contractor experienced in preventing water damage to design and build walls that can withstand mudslides.
- Board up windows. If you have a mudslide warning, board up your windows to prevent mud and debris from potentially coming through them.
- Do a drill with the family. Have an evacuation plan in place. Drill all members of your family in what to do.
- Keep a stock of sandbags. Prepare them in good weather and use them to divert any mud or water flow away from your home. Figure this out with neighbors so as to help them also and not divert the flow onto them.
Get help. If a mudslide is expected in your area, call your local fire and police departments for advice.
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