Chatsworth, CA -- According to some meteorological experts, the developing El Niño weather phenomenon now appears to be the strongest that has ever been observed. El Niño occurs approximately every two to seven years as an unusually warm area of water develops in the central and east-central equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean. During those years, it not only impacts ocean conditions, but also changes weather patterns on land across the globe.
In the United States, El Niño is typically associated with warm conditions in the northern states and cooler weather in the much of the southern region of the country during the winter months. Likewise, precipitation patterns are also impacted. Drier than average winter conditions often form over the northern tier of the country while California and the Southwest can typically expect much wetter than average conditions. For residents of this region, a strong El Niño often brings heavy precipitation in the form of rain or snow that can result in devastating floods and costly property damage.
“If rain water or melting snow enters a property it can not only damage or destroy building materials and personal belongings, it can also allow for the growth of mold in less than 48 hours in many circumstances if the materials are allowed to remain wet or moist,” said Franco Seif, President of Clark Seif Clark. “Floodwaters that enter a property may contain chemicals and harmful microorganisms. In addition to issues associated with moisture and mold, water damage in older properties could also result in indoor environmental concerns due to the possible presence of lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials. These materials may create exposure risks during cleanup, demolition and rebuilding activities if proper procedures are not followed.”
Fortunately, there are steps that property managers and owners can take to prepare for El Niño’s heavy precipitation to minimize or prevent water damage to their home or commercial building. These steps include the following:
- Ensure any sump pumps are working properly.
- Check roofing materials, shingles or roof tiles to make sure they are in good condition to handle the extra rain or snow.
- Remove leaves and obstructions from gutters and downspouts and ensure that water is draining away from the building.
- Check chimneys, sky lights and roof exhaust pipes to ensure they are properly sealed.
- Make sure the building’s exterior, siding, doors and windows are weather tight.
Clark Seif Clark’s building science and indoor environmental quality experts are available to identify and evaluate water damage in homes or businesses impacted by El Niño. Their professionals offer comprehensive testing services to identify water damage, mold, lead, asbestos and other indoor environmental conditions and pollutants. They also recently sponsored an educational video about preventing water damage and mold growth due to El Niño and other weather events that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/o1_NhaXam94
To learn more about this or other property damage, indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, health and safety testing services, please contact us.