What are those strange drops falling from the sky? Some new agricultural technique or unheard of environmental phenomenon? Don’t panic. It’s just rain: unfamiliar enough in these parts to cause wonder at their appearance and, ultimately, gratitude. We now have water filling our aquifers, watering our farms, and greening our backyards. It’s time to switch prepping around the house from unending dryness to moisture, thanks to the effects of El Niño. Helping you to do just that are the following tips, mostly from the Los Angeles Times.
Clear the exterior gutters and drains.
There was no need to worry about the leaves, branches, and other debris falling on your gutters or piling up around your storm drains since neither were ever in use. But this debris can prevent water from effectively draining from your property, which can cause flooding and water damage. Clear these accumulations and while you’re at it, inspect your gutters for any leaks and ensure they are pressed tightly against the roof line. Make repairs immediately to prevent any holes from getting bigger.
Buy some hardware.
Take advantage of all this free water by putting a rain barrel or two at your downspouts. This summer, you can use it for watering the garden or washing your car. If you’re concerned about groundwater invading low-lying areas, such as your garage, install a sump pump or have a plumber look at the one you own to ensure it’s in working order.
Check patios, yards, driveways, and other areas to ensure that they are correctly sloped so water drains away from the house. If any don’t do that and you don’t have time for them to be fixed, consider getting moisture-activated sandless sandbags to keep excess water at bay. These handy deterrents, which are available at home centers, automatically inflate and form a barrier when touched by moisture. When they dry out, they flatten out, making them easy to store and re-use.
Bring in the delicates.
If you’ve put out wooden furniture, sofa pillows, children’s plush toys, cotton fabric, or other furniture and decor that are not waterproofed for outdoor use, bring them in right away and dry them out. If they’re too big to move, cover them with a waterproof tarp. If you have container plants from inside that require watering, set them outside for a spell, so they can drink their fill of natural rain. But make sure that they have sufficient drainage by raising them from the ground, such as by setting them on palettes.
Turn off the sprinklers.
You can check the weather forecast at the beginning of each week, but it looks like El Niño will be granting us life-giving rain for the next couple of months. Obviously, there’s no need for your automatic sprinklers or drip systems to be coming on and watering grounds that are already wet. Turn them off until summer sets in.
Check the car.
You want to avoid hydroplaning across roads and highways during a rain, so check your tires. You need at least 50 percent or more of tire tread for your vehicle to grip the road. Change your tires if they’re close to showing that much wear. Keep them inflated because underinflated tires don’t sit properly on the road surface. Change your wipers since it may have been sometime since you used them last.