El Niño Storm Strikes in Our Backyard

Lidia Rios, Public Relations Manager

Californian residents have been keeping up with recent news or reading California newspapers throughout the past months, and have read or seen several stories on the “El Niño” that is headed our way. In Southern California, El Niño is best known for river flooding, traffic-jamming deluges and mudslides. El Niño is a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns.

“El Niño is already strong and mature, and is forecast to continue gaining strength,” The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said. “It is expected to be among the three strongest on record since 1950.”

Effects from El Niño have already began to emerge from across the world, igniting a rare and vigorous hurricane season in the east of the Pacific Ocean more specifically the recent attack on Mexico by hurricane Patricia. In other regions, like Indonesia or the Philippines, El Niño simply means a horrid drought.

After months of speculations on whether El Niño Storm would be coming to California, the recent series of storms would claim it is already here. With threats now pouring in of future floods and mudslides Southern Californian residents are being warned to prepare for the chaos.

This may sound like an amazing thing for our drought-stricken state and although true, it plays an obstacle for those such as the homeless population and students. The city of LA has gone out of its way to open up more about 1,100 additional shelter beds, and outreach workers have been trying to convince homeless people to steer from harm’s way.

“According to the official homeless count of January 2015, more than 28,000 people in L.A County are unsheltered,” an article titled “L.A.’s Homeless and El Niño”. “About 18,000 of them are in the city of L.A. Obviously, several thousand sheltered beds would accommodate only a friction of that population.”

Students, especially those whose only way of transport is walking or riding bikes, have to be extremely cautious due to the several unsafe areas seen around the town, and due to Downey High being an open school deep puddles, wet stairs, and overcrowding are bound to be noticed.

For a student like Genesya Flores, 12, who is expected to be at school everyday due to Apex by 6:40 a.m., getting soaked by the rain that early is not exactly convenient for her or her health.

“I love the rain, but sometimes having your feet soaked despite wearing shoes can take a toll on me,” Flores said. “But ironically my back hurts more than my feet due to my really heavy backpack.”

But don’t fear local residents, the City of Downey has already taken steps to prepare equipment, facilities, and personnel for such fretted conditions.

Provided by (http://www.downeyca.org/services/el_nino_information/default.asp) here are some ways Downey would like to help you stay safe.

Before the rain:

  • Review your flood insurance policy, ensuring that it provides adequate coverage for your property.
  • Be sure your roof does not leak. A simple inspection or observation during a storm of wet areas on the ceiling should be adequate.After the Rain:
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. Report downed electrical lines to Southern California Edison at 1-800-611-1911.
  • Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream of water. Even shallow water can sweep you off your feet.
  • Do not drive through flooded streets and avoid needless trips.