Corps Members Train for Expected El Nino with Sandbags, Prepare for Possible Flooding

Over 100 members with California Conservation Corps (CCC) spent Tuesday on Fiesta Island to practice using sandbags for protection against flooding.

The CCC just completed a half a million hours of fire-fighting protection and now they are switching their focus on El Niño.

Beatriz Ruiz, 21, has been a corps member for five months and says,“A lot of people think it's (El Niño) almost a joke.”

The corps members learned the skills of how to properly fill sandbags and build various walls out of them for different weather conditions such as wave erosion and flooding caused by heavy rain.

“Today our Corps members are honing their skills in different stations for different flood fighting techniques,” said conservationist Phil Lembke.

Ruiz says should there be severe flooding, they will be there to help. She adds that residents must do what they can to prevent damage from heavy rain.

“Whether it be small trenches in their homes, try and look at their foundation and see if it needs any work before the rain season but most people should expect the rain," she said. 

Lembke says although the members are based in San Diego, it is a state-wide program and members can be called anywhere their help is needed.

“Usually we are contracted through city, state and county governments as well as federal agencies to provide emergency assistance,” Lembke said.

There is a 95 percent chance the upcoming El Nino will soak San Diego and the rest of Southern California through spring 2016, weather experts have said.

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