According to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, there is a high chance that El Niño will likely form during the May–July season, which will persist in the winter. This phenomenon results from a forecasted third westerly wind event around mid-late May, with high above-average oceanic heat content.
Considering these factors, a temperature shift is expected, which could affect millions of lives worldwide. With this information in mind, people must immediately start preparations for El Niño.
What is El Niño?
To start, El Niño is a climate pattern involving unusual surface water warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Niño is the “warmer phase” of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. The “cool phase” of ENSO is La Niña, which involves the unusual cooling of the surface waters within the region.
What are the Effects of El Niño?
El Niño impacts our ocean temperatures, ocean currents’ speed, coastal fisheries’ health quality, and even the local weather. On a land scale, severe drought brought by increased temperatures can affect food security, like crops for produce.
Various health problems also arise during this time, like disease outbreaks, malnutrition, respiratory illness, lack of water access, and heat stress can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
How Can I Prepare for El Niño?
We can avoid the severe effects of the phenomenon’s effects by being prepared. While we certainly can’t change how things will go, keeping up to date with news and being mindful of our resources will help us cope with the weather changes.
Here are some El Niño preparation tips to keep in mind:
A. Ways to Prepare for the Heat:
1. Keep in touch with the latest weather updates.
While experts claim that the effects of El Niño may last until the weather or through early 2024, it helps to be prepared for any sudden changes. Check your local weather report online or through various other channels.
2. Dress for the heat and stay hydrated.
Protect yourself from extreme heat by wearing appropriate clothing and staying hydrated. One effective way to stay hydrated is to invest in an insulated tumbler that helps keep drinks at specific temperatures for longer.
One excellent option is the D·S stainless steel insulated tumbler which can keep drinks cold for around 24 hours and hot for about 6 hours. It has a splashproof lid, a stainless-steel straw, and a cleaning brush. It also keeps fingers dry and prevents frostbite, making it easy to use.
If you’re interested, check the D·S tumbler on Amazon here, which comes in various fun colors!
3. Apply sunscreen regularly.
Extreme heat can lead to exhaustion, inflammation, and skin issues. UVA rays can lead to premature aging, while UVB rays produce sunburn and skin cancer.
Including sunscreen in your daily skincare regimen is essential regardless of age and gender. As a rule of thumb, pick an option with an SPF range above 30 for broader coverage. Remember to apply before sun exposure and reapply after swimming or sweating.
One excellent option is Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion. This vegan version has moisturizing compounds with a pleasant scent. You can order this option on Amazon, which also comes in various SPF spectrums.
4. Get the right kind of nutrition.
Being conscious of your food intake during this period can be a great way to preserve your health. Consider adding foods with high water content into your diet to prevent the effects of dehydration.
Some foods with high water content include melons, strawberries, celery, cucumbers, and oranges. If you’re thinking of making a delicious smoothie this time of year, go for it!
5. Conserve water.
Droughts are another effect of the El Niño phenomenon. If your area is hot, saving water during this crucial period may be wise. Some ways to help conserve water include:
- Limit or stop watering your lawns for now;
- Use buckets to capture rainwater which you can use for cleaning your car and home; and
- Check for any plumbing leaks which could increase your water bill
B. Ways to Prepare for Rain:
El Niño isn’t just limited to extreme drought. Part of the cycle is that it will bring heavy rainstorms and flooding. Here are additional steps to take once the weather has shifted into a rainier season:
1. Make an emergency preparedness kit.
An emergency preparedness kit is anything that ensures your safety and survival if there is a need to evacuate. Some things to include in your preparedness kit include:
- Flashlight with batteries;
- Portable radio;
- Important documents in a sealed bag or folder;
- Swiss army knife;
- Extra clothes;
- A tent;
- Drinking water;
- Canned goods;
- Rope; and
- Valuable devices with chargers
2. Check your car.
Inspect your windshield wipers before any storm warnings. You should also check your tire tread to see if it’ll last through stormy days.
3. Prepare your home.
Storm warnings can bring potential floods. In this step, clear your gutters and outdoor drains. This step prevents flooding and lessens the risk of water damage caused by clogged gutters.
Homeowners should also trim overhanging branches or schedule a tree trim to avoid fall damage during windy days.
4. Keep outdoor furniture secure.
Outdoor furniture like tables and chairs may topple over or damage other property. Avoid this incident by placing them in a garage or a storage unit. Additionally, you can tie them against poles or secure something heavy on top to keep them from toppling over or being blown around.
5. Use sandbags around vulnerable areas in your home.
Sandbagging is a flood prevention technique where users can create barriers with sandbags to divert water and prevent water from leaking inside vulnerable doors and around foundations. One way to use sandbags effectively is to place them outside, in the way, or in an entryway for flood control, like basements, front entrances, porches, and garage doors.
6. Keep your pets safe.
Avoid leaving your pets behind. Keep them tagged, or have them chipped. Remember to pack food and water to ensure their safety. Remember; pets are family members too!
7. Avoid leaving it to chance.
If you can afford to leave a week or a day before disaster strikes, do it. It may only be possible for some but seek higher ground immediately if you can. Contact your local government for safe shelters until the flood or storm passes.
Takeaway: El Niño is a phenomenon that can affect our lives and safety. Ensure you stay safe and healthy by following any of these prevention steps. For more concerns, contact your local government office for any possible disaster preparation plans. Remember always to prioritize your safety.