The El Nino, also formally known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, is a weather pattern which usually happens once every 3 to 7 years. Its main characteristic is the warming of the waters of the eastern section of the Pacific Ocean. This results in floods and droughts in different parts of the world, which, in turn, causes extensive damage to lives and property.
In the northern part of the world, the areas most vulnerable to the effects of this phenomenon are Mexico and the United States of America. The north-eastern and north-western parts of the US will often have mild winters while cooler and wetter winters will be experienced by parts of the south-eastern US, Virginia, and a few places in northern Mexico.
When this phenomenon occurs, normal atmospheric circulation and rainfall patterns get disrupted. This causes heavy rainfalls and cloudiness in the north-western sections of the USA and some parts of Canada. In turn, this causes flooding during spring and winter.
It is also worth noting that many other affected areas, like Malaysia, Indonesia, northern Australia, and Brazil, experience a lack of rainfall. This causes the deaths of crops and farm animals, which, in turn, causes food shortage in the area.
The El Nino phenomenon, in other words, has an adverse effect to all people around the world in the form of either drought or flood, and because of this, it is very important to prepare for it before it strikes. Here are things that everyone can do to prepare for this phenomenon.
Preparing for flooding (northern hemisphere)
1. Make a list of personal essentials, like furnishings, valuables, and clothes, and take pictures of the interior and exterior of your home. Make sure that you store the list and the pictures in a safe location, as these help a lot in settling claims and proving uninsured losses.
2. Come up with an evacuation plan. This allows you to evacuate as fast as possible, if needed. Without a good evacuation plan, you can end up stuck in your own home and surrounded by raging flood water.
3. It is also important to get a cache of supplies ready. The cache should contain: emergency food and cooking equipment, new batteries, portable radios, and flash lights. You can also include plastic sheeting, sandbags, and plywood in your cache.
4. It also helps to buy a flood insurance policy in advance, considering that you will never know when flood strikes in your area as well as the fact that flooding isn't covered under most other home insurance policies. You should also get a flood insurance policy in advance because most policy providers have waiting periods of thirty days before their flood insurance policies go into effect. Once you have purchased flood insurance, keep them together with the pictures of your house and the list of personal essentials.
Preparing for drought (equator region and southern hemisphere)
1. List down the tasks which need water and divide them into two: those that require potable water and those that do not need potable water. For the former, use water flowing from your tap, and for the latter, use water that you have collected.
2. Open the cistern and put a brick inside it. This can help to reduce the water you consume every flush.
3. Switch off all the taps that are not used.
4. It can also help to install taps and appliances that do not consume a lot of water. You can buy and use newer toilet bowls, water-saving shower heads, and many other products with a water-saving feature.
5. Do not use the hose when you clean your walkway or patio. Use a broom instead.
6. Gather and recycle rainwater. If the roofs of your home are made of slate, aluminum, thatch, tile, or galvanised corrugated iron, you can install a gutter on one side of the roof. At one end of the gutter, attach pipes that will lead to a number of filters. The rainwater should end up stored in a clean, durable storage tank with a tight lid, ready for everyday use. If you are planning to use the collected water for different activities, then make sure to have a pump attached to your rainwater harvesting and recycling system.
7. Have a fire fighting system set in place. Buy a good number of fire extinguishers and have sprinkler systems installed on the ceilings of different parts of the house.
The El Nino can cause so much harm to people, properties, and lives around the world. Hence, make sure to follow the steps given above so that the damage can be significantly reduced. In most places, like in Australia, locals make use of rainwater tanks to prepare and sustain water shortages. Rainwater tank suppliers assist locals implement the system, a few good reads about how water tanks helps can be read here: http://www.rainwatertanksdirect.com.au/blog.
Ava Hentze is naturally born in Australia, loves the family life, with her husband and 2 adoring kids plus a kitty and a good dog. An advocate to conserving the environment, she helps her community run a series of programs to help enrich knowledge about rainwater harvesting.