City, County Officials Discuss El Nino Preparedness Resources Ahead of Expected Storm Season

Officials want San Diegans to stay vigilant about flood preparedness heading into weeks of El Nino-fueled storms in light of dozens of water rescues and damaging flooding last week. 

Following a week of strong, El Nino-fueled storms, City and County officials held a press conference to remind San Diegans of ways they can better prepare themselves for the remainder of the upcoming El Nino storms, offering resources and advice for residents. 

"If anyone had somehow missed the warnings, this series of storms should put us on notice," said Supervisor Ron Roberts. "This El Nino and the concerns with El Nino are very real and they're going to be with us through this rainy season."

Many parts of San Diego experienced heavy flooding last week after a series of storms and even a rare tornado warning. Future storms are expected to bring more severe weather to San Diego. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, San Diego Police call centers received 1,300 more calls than usual as a series of storms touched down across much of the County, said San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Chief Shelley Zimmerman.The City of San Diego received 500 storm related service calls. During the storms, there were 67 water rescues over a five day period.

Officials reminded San Diegans to prepare their homes and businesses and utlize emergency preparedness resources. Some of those resources include:

  • Registering for the region's mass alert system with AlertSanDiego by clicking here 
  • Visit ReadySanDiego to prepare for disasters such as flooding
  • If you've already suffered damage, fill out a damage survey here to better help the city pursue relevant state and federal dollars for aid
  • If you have a flood-related issue, call 211 for help and information

Zimmerman also recommended while it was sunny outside to explore different ways to get home and to get to work.

"As many people found out, it seems like many people only know one way home one way to work one way to school," ZImmerman said, adding that when flooding blocked their paths home, they got stuck.

Officials also recommended people know where they would evacuate to if asked to evacuate and to find alternative routes to get there, in case one way is blocked. 

SDG&E Chief Energy Delivery Officer Caroline Winn said the system "performed well" during the first set of storms. Teams have been preparing for heavy rainfall for months with inspections, collaborations, adding extra equipment and consulting meteorologists. 

“I know that electric and gas outages are never convenient but sometimes they aren’t avoidable," Winn said. 

In response to some of their most vulnerable customers needing extra help, SDG&E has purchased Safety Out Kits from Citizens Voice with a packet that includes resources like door handles to alert neighbors, and other resources for someone home-bound during an emergency. Distribution of the kits has already begun to customers through Elder Help, Meals on Wheels and, soon, the American Medical Response Company. 

Winn also announced SDG&E is donating $70,000 to the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation and will acquire three emergency generators for San Diego County emergency shelters. 

Going into a strong El Nino, Roberts said, means everyone needs to be prepared, regardless of whether or not they think their place will flood. 

“Just because your property didn’t flood in these rain storms, you still need to prepare," Roberts said. "No matter where you live, whether you're at the top of the hill or the bottom of a canyon, you still need to prepare. A number of factors, including the rain we’ve got and how saturated the ground is, could make the next experience quite different."

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