El Niño is a warming of the Pacific Ocean that occurs along the equator between South America and the Date Line and can influence the storm track over the West. El Niño conditions do not “cause” individual storms but rather influence their frequency and characteristics. El Niño is typically associated with wetter than normal conditions along the southern third of California eastward following the U.S.-Mexico border and drier than normal conditions in the Inland Northwest and northern Rockies.
A strong El Niño is predicted during winter 2015/16.
The official NOAA outlooks for Dec-Jan-Feb temperature and precipitation for the West reflect the development of a strong El Niño during this period. There is a 50% chance that winter precipitation totals will be in the top 33% of historic values across far southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. These outlooks are likely to change as NOOA tracks the progress of El Niño and other climate variables in the coming months. This El Niño event is forecast to rival previous strong El Niño events, such as 1982/83 and 1997/98.
The City of Riverside has existing plans, procedures, equipment, facilities and staff at the ready for all types and degrees of emergencies and disasters. Specifically in response to the El Niño forecast, the City has assembled an El Niño Preparedness Team who has been commissioned to; Prepare an El Niño Concept of Operations Plan, Procure Emergency Equipment and Supplies; Hasten the Clearing of and Maintenance of the City’s Flood Control Facilities; Hasten the Clearing of and Maintenance of the City’s Power System and Infrastructure; and all other activities vital to the preparation for and response to the effects of El Niño.
Additionally, the City is coordinating its preparedness efforts with County, State, and Federal emergency management agencies. The City’s Office of Emergency Management is charged with the day-to-day planning efforts and coordination activities with these other levels of government.
Taking steps now to prepare will go a long way towards your personal safety and that of your family during the forecasted El Niño winter weather.
For more emergency preparedness information, visit www.readyriverside.com
The City of Riverside operates Emergency Sandbag pick-up sites throughout the winter months in anticipation of continuous and extended heavy rainfall events during which widespread flooding may occur. Sand and sandbags are available to property owners and local businesses on a self-serve basis. Property owners and businesses are requested to take no more than 20 sandbags. These sandbags are not intended for commercial ventures or builders involved in new construction or development. Prepare ahead of the storm, sandbags and sand are available, inexpensively, at most hardware and home improvement stores.
Flash floods kill over 200 people annually in the U.S. and trap thousands more, jeopardizing the safety of both civilians and professional rescuers. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
Nearly 50 percent of all flash flood fatalities nationwide involve vehicles. Saving your life can be as easy as turning your car around when you see water on the road. Never attempt to drive through flooded roadways.
Even in relatively shallow water, tires can act as flotation devices, lifting up big vehicles and sending them downstream. It takes only two feet of water to float a 3,000-pound car.
Beware that water covering roadways may hide washed-out bridges or gouged-out roadbeds. If you attempt to drive across, you may not be driving on a road.
Do not attempt to cross flooded roads or streams on foot. It can take as little as six inches of water to knock an adult off his or her feet. Furthermore, water may be flowing more rapidly than it appears.
If flash flooding has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
City Emergency Services
City Non-Emergency Services
City Office of Emergency Mgmt.