California has seen its share of droughts, going years without substantial rain, as in 2012 to 2016. I remember as kid, my parents taught us three little kids to never leave the water running at the kitchen sink when not using the water and to never take “Hollywood showers” – meaning showers nothing longer than 5-minutes. It’s the same rules I passed down to my son, who’s now age 32.
Fast-forward to 2023, where unprecedented rains hit California non-stop and because of the droughts, it caught many (even the trees) off guard with how to handle and prepare for these storms.
Before we dive into the tips, know that Cypress Self Storage is here for the community during these unprecedented rains. Rainstorms and other natural disasters cause disturbances for the community, but Cypress Self Storage is available for whatever temporary or long-term storage needs customers might have. Individuals, families and businesses are affected by these storms. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Cypress Self Storage – a local business – ready to help with pre-planned or emergency storage needs.
So let’s get to it! Below are 10 curated tips on how to “weather” future rainstorms and other squalls, such as small tornados, hailstorms, flooding, thunder and even earthquakes.
1. Full Tank of Gas: If at all possible, always be mindful to have a full tank of gas in your car – at the very least a half a tank. If an evacuation takes place and you are low on gas, having a full tank will relieve the added stress and time of driving to a gas station to fill-up (which will be lined with others who were low on gas as well!).
2. Chose a Predestined Safe Location: Again, in an evacuation, have a contingency plan and decide ahead of time on where to can go that’s safe(r) – perhaps a family member or friend’s home, or a hotel, etc. Advanced planning is key before an emergency strikes.
3. Go-Bag: Just like packing for a family vacation or road trip, have a “go-bag” packed and ready at all times, filled with essential items. Include in your duffle bag: a change of clothes, under garments, tennis shoes, socks, blanket, water, flashlight (with new batteries), fully charged phone charger (or two!), non-perishable food, cash, a favorite book or an electronic book reader, laptop or iPad, magazine and a list of emergency phone numbers.
4. Emergency Supply Kit: Just like the Go-Bag, have an emergency supply kit ready as well, to include: first aid items for minor injuries, sterile gloves, sterile dressings, soap and antibiotic towelettes, antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes, eye wash solution, digital thermometer, prescription medications you take every day, prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies, first aid book, non-prescription drugs (aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative, etc.).
5. Sanitation - Tool Kit - Documents: While it might feel like a mini camping trip, these kits will come in handy when faced with an emergency evacuation. Found at www.unitetolight.org, in sanitation, include toilet paper, soap, feminine supplies, plastic garbage bags & ties, plastic bucket with tight lid, chlorine bleach, supplies for pet waste. For tools, include a wrench to turn off gas and water lines, cups, plates and utensils (raid your camping gear to save money -- just don’t forget to replace them after each trip), light source (solar is best so you don’t have to worry about batteries), radio (get one that is USB powered and check out our solar, charger & battery bank or buy a battery-operated radio and extra batteries), manual can opener or a utility knife, small fire extinguisher, pliers, duct tape, matches in a waterproof container, plastic storage container to keep everything in one place. For Documents, include your will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, passports, social security cards, immunization records, bank account numbers, credit card account numbers and companies, family records (birth, marriage, death certificates).
6. Don’t Drive through Standing Water: Triple AAA’s motto is, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” Based on a AAA news release from www.media.acg.aaa.com, it warns drivers to “Avoid standing water and flooded roads at all times. There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road and driving through it can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to your vehicle. If your vehicle stalls in a flooded area, do not remain in the car. Abandon it as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Flood waters can elevate quickly, sweeping away the vehicle and its occupants.” It’s not worth the possible danger to you or your passengers or losing your vehicle and at the very least, damaging your vehicle. Find another route to drive, don’t take chances.
7. Buy a back-up generator: If you can afford it, because many generators are not cheap, purchase a back-up generator that will suit your needs – whether a large one to run many household appliances and electronics or a smaller one to run just the bare necessities, such as a laptop and lamps. Candles are great, however, they can pose a fire risk if not properly monitored with pets and children running around.
8. Keep gutters and downspouts cleaned and maintained: If you own a home or rent, ask your landlord to keep the gutters and downspouts clear of debris and unclogged. If left unkept, it will eventually cause rotting and termites and also create additional flooding around your house – the water flow failing to make its way to storm drains.
9. Invest in a sump pump: Many of these are affordable, but do require electricity. Sump pumps help with diverting flooded areas and with proper hoses, can redirect overflow of water to storm drains or other, appropriate intake areas.
10. Don’t Park Under Large Trees: As crazy as this sounds, it’s great advice! If avoidable, park far away from large trees. This winter and spring on the TV news outlets, almost weekly, was coverage of the number of trees falling onto cars and homes – due to the rainstorms coupled with the years of drought. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2023 (https://www.sfchronicle.com/climate/article/california-tree-storm-wind-17854240.php), it said, “It’s become an all too common sight in recent months: trees ripped from the ground, causing chaos as they take down power lines, disrupt traffic and crush cars and homes across California. Eucalyptus, oaks and even some redwoods have blown down in California's storms.” The article went on to say that trees more prone to collapse, were taller trees with denser crowns.