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Will El Niño Dump Heavy Rain on Orange County?

When looking to buy a new home in Orange County, it’s natural to consider California’s ongoing drought. But excessive rain?

We are still in the middle of a multi-year drought severe enough to impose water restrictions on all California residents. But, as the recent heavy September rains have shown, the potential for downpours still exists in the area. More so in the next few months because scientists are seeing the return of El Niño. 

What is El Niño?

The weather in Southern California is largely driven by the ocean’s temperature. For reasons not yet well-defined, parts of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean warm up every two to seven years and stays warm for six to 18 months. That change affects weather throughout the world. While specific conditions depend on the severity of El Niño combined with ordinary day-to-day weather patterns, scientists are predicting a warmer Northwest, a drier Midwest, a cooler South, and a wetter Southern California from fall through spring.

The strong El Niño in 1997-1998 produced storms that killed 17 people in California and caused an estimated $550 million worth of damage. In 2006 and 2007, a weak El Niño produced the opposite effect: California’s 23rd driest winter season. Already the recent September rain is pointing to a strong weather condition this season. 

Water, Water Everywhere

Orange County and the rest of California can hopefully look forward to an easing, if not the end of the drought with massive rainfall. A normal winter in Southern California brings about 10 inches of rain. Last winter, rains reached only 6 to 8 inches. The 1997-1998 season brought 16 inches of rain from October to April. The National Weather Service pegs a greater-than-90 percent chance that El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere through the 2015-16 winter, and about an 85 percent chance that it will continue into early spring of next year.

How to prepare your home for the potential of heavy rains this winter?

If you just bought a new home from Brandywine Homes, rest assured it was built to withstand rainy conditions with the latest weather technologies that keep you warm and dry inside when it’s wet outside. Our developments feature streets and drainage systems designed to handle heavy rains.

Also, our new Orange County homes – including Seabright in Costa Mesa and Provence and Covington in Yorba Linda – are in minimal flood risk areas, and not required to carry flood insurance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

That qualifies you for a Preferred Risk Policy, which has the lowest available premiums. You can tack on this coverage through your insurance company. The cost is the same, even if you buy it directly from the federal government, since FEMA takes care of the coverage for the entire country.

Contrary to what you may believe, the “water damage” clause in your standard policy does not cover flooding. That provision only pays if your home is flooded from sources inside your home, such as if the water feed to your washing machine breaks or your kid leaves the sink faucet open all night. If you want to be protected from water damage originating outside your home, you need flood insurance.

If you want to know more about the features that protect Brandywine Homes against all kinds of weather or want to tour our developments, please contact us.