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El Niño: Three Things to Know

1: El Niño isn’t a storm – it’s a change in our weather pattern, and it’s already here

El Niño isn’t a single large storm but a pattern of warm water in the Pacific Ocean that tends to cause heavier winter rain and snow in California and other parts of the U.S. Early indications of a strong El Niño this winter seem to be holding up so far, but heavy precipitation is still not guaranteed. Current projections show only approximately a 50 percent chance of above average precipitation in Northern California this year. To stay up to date on the latest El Niño weather outlook, follow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s El Niño blog and our local National Weather Service office on Facebook and Twitter.

2: Placer County floods

Placer County has suffered 8 major flood or storm-related disasters since 1953, and low-lying parts of the county and areas near rivers and creeks are especially at risk of flooding. Homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so strongly consider carrying flood insurance, and keep in mind that most flood policies include a 30-day waiting period before they go into effect. Emergency preparedness is all of our responsibility, so learn the flood risk where you live, build an emergency kit for your home and vehicle and know what to do in a flood emergency to help keep your family safe. Sign up for Placer Alert emergency alerts today. And during big storms, stay tuned to local media and National Weather Service alerts and follow Placer County on Facebook and Twitter for the latest emergency and evacuation information. Here’s more on local flood plain information and where to find sand and sandbags if flooding threatens your property.

3: We’re still in a drought

Current projections for rain and snow this season show only approximately a 50 percent chance of above average precipitation in Northern California this year. While we’d love to see more snow on the ski slopes and fuller reservoirs, even a very wet winter will likely not get us out of drought. Emergency state conservation regulations remain in effect, so hope for rain, but keep conserving. For water conservation tips, visit www.saveourwater.com.

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