How to Prepare

Top 5 Ways That YOU Can Prepare for El Niño!

PrepareThe rains are coming, and there is plenty you can do to prepare for the large storms that are expected to hit in the coming months in order to help protect water quality and your property. Here are the top 5 things that you can do to prepare for El Niño:

  1. Do not apply any fertilizers or pesticides to your property’s landscape. When the rains come, these will wash away and create stormwater runoff, polluting our watersheds and ocean. Urban runoff is the number one source of pollution at our beaches and ocean. Learn more here.
  1. Clean out debris from your roof, gutters, and downspouts now, so that when the rains come obstructions are easier to remove. Make sure that your downspouts are directed away from your house’s foundation, ideally towards permeable landscaping areas.
  1. Sandbags can effectively and inexpensively control mud flow. They are made of materials readily available from your local building materials supply yard, and are easily installed using household or garden tools. Properly placed sandbags re-direct storm and debris flow away from infrastructure. Sandbagging is most effective in diverting flows and should not be used as a dam to contain mud flows. You can get sand bags through the City of Santa Barbara or City of Goleta.
  1. Install a rain capture device, like a rain barrel or a planter box, for your downspout to empty into. Harvesting and storing rain water is not only good for the environment, reducing erosion and pollution to our rivers, but it can also save you money on your utilities by providing an alternative source of stored water for landscaping. While we may get heavy rains, that doesn’t mean the drought is over! Harvest rain water for the future.
  1. Be mindful of going in the ocean after a heavy rain. Download the free Swim Guide App to check on beach water quality after the rains and wait at least 72 hours before jumping in.


AwareandPrepareVisit Santa Barbara County’s Aware and Prepare Website:

The Aware & Prepare Initiative is a public-private partnership to enhance the capabilities of non-profit organizations and government agencies to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters within the Santa Barbara County Operational Area. Sign up for alerts, join community groups, view discussions and photographs, and learn how you can become aware and prepared for potential emergency events.

Extensive information is also available on the County’s Storm Information and Preparedness Center.

For additional resources on how to prepare for El Niño check out Santa Barbara County’s Homeowners Guide for Flood Prevention and Response as well as FEMA’s El Nino Preparedness Website.