It’s the quiet before the storm… literally! We have all read online or heard on the news that El Niño is preparing to meet the mainland, and when it arrives next month, it’ll bring on the rain and the pain. Experts have indicated that this typhoon will be monstrous, exponentially above wet and wild than times prior, and ten times more destructive than even Godzilla.

Yes, we are in dire need of some water, and we will surely going to get it with this brute of a storm, but too much rain all at once can also be disastrous especially after the massive dry spell that Californians have faced for the past few years. Therefore, when a battle is afoot, it is essential to arm for the fight! Waging war against Mother Nature is impossible; she will win every time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for the season ahead.

Here are some basic need-to-know essentials in order to tame the beast and be ready for El Niño when it hits:

1. Evaluate All Nearby Trees to Avoid Accidents

Tremendous rain isn’t the only culprit in the overpowering storm, but wind can play a huge factor as well. A vast majority of the damage caused by El Niño is done through the gusty gales rushing and ripping through nearby objects. We can’t harness the wind, so the next best thing to do is control the environment it will run through.

Inspect your neighborhood for potential danger in large trees:

  1. Leaning Trees: Trees usually don’t grow straight, and a little lean is normal. But when your tree starts looking like the Tower of Pisa because of poor weight distribution or anchor root damage, it’s likely unstable.
    • Danger Signs: Cracked or heaving soil, especially on the side opposite the lean and Exposed roots around the base of the tree.
  2. Multiple Trunks: A tree with multiple trunks, or with splits in one trunk, can be unstable.
    • Danger Signs: V-shaped or U-shaped multiple trunks are weak points for mature trees. The connective wood where the trunks come together may lose strength — and be more likely to split — with age and when storms occur.
  3. Construction Destruction: Construction is tough on trees. Installing a driveway, putting on an addition, and digging up utility lines puts nearby trees under stress.
    • Danger Signs: Damaged bark, reduced or no foliage, premature autumn color, or mushrooms, conks, and carpenter ants at the base of the tree.


Ample and heavy branches can be torn down and land on nearby houses and cars, so by thinning trees, removing debris and limbs, and making sure they are securely in the ground, you can help protect your home from an unwanted tree invasion.

2. Secure Your Outdoor Objects From Washing Away

Trees are not the only victims of wind attacks, but potentially any outdoor object can be subject to the destruction. Therefore, it is important to survey your property for “loose” items that can be damaged or even blown away.

  • Secure or bring potted plants inside during the storm to not only keep the plants safe but also keep windows and the overall appearance of your business intact.
  • Keep garbage bins and receptacle in their appointed areas, or tie them down to a stable faucet like a sturdy wall or fence.
  • Inspect window and door screens to ensure they are not damaged before the storm; more wear-and-tear may make them capable of being ripped off the foundation by wind.
  • Have playground equipment nearby? Make sure it is secured in the ground firmly and bring in anything that is loose or detachable.

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A good rule of thumb, in general, is to be safe rather than sorry. Winds occurring in El Niño can have gusts more powerful than a jet engine, so even if the object seems heavy, Mother Nature may pick it up easily.

3. Inspect all Drains to Avoid Flooding

If the wind doesn’t get you, the rain will, and when it comes to El Niño, a sky bound river may be headed your way. It’s easier to prepare for a flood before it actually happens, so take every chance possible to inspect your office’s drains, ditches, and channels for optimum water flow and capacity.

Drains, especially on your roof, help facilitate the massive current of water that can be dumped down during a storm, and if the drains are not working, the water will pile up and may cause the foundation to cave in or a flood.

  • Remove any silt or debris from ditches and channels as the excess dirt can clog drains that will cause street flooding.
  • Fixing drainage in your office and neighborhood may be a bother and a bit pricey, but it’s guaranteed that water damage caused by a cave-in or overflow will be even more costly.

It’s better to not take a chance; prepare for the worst and know that your efforts will keep you, your employees, and building safe.

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4. Check Out The Road and Sidewalks

Even if the storm has passed and everything is left standing at the moment, trouble may still occur down the road. Loose soil and a broken foundation can cause immediate damage from rain, but can also give way up to a few weeks later as the soggy earth strains to maintain its firmness from a massive storm. Therefore, make property preparations before El Niño rather than after it’s too late.

  • Check retaining walls for cracks and drainage problems since failures may arise when doused with water.
  • Inspect neighboring hillsides for erosion and foliage coverage.
  • Slopes with little plant attention means the soil is loose and ready to give way when agitated by wind and water. In order to prevent landslide and mudslides, make sure the earth is covered in ample foliage. The roots of plants will anchor the soil to the hillside when the rain comes and keep your building free of the mess and muck.

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These tips, though simple, can insure a healthy and happy home when El Niño breaks the mainland. A massive storm may be scary, but you’ll rest calmly inside knowing you and your property are equipped to handle the thunder and rain.

Don’t take a chance; be prepared. If you need any help in preparing your land and estate for El Niño, please contact us at Western Landscape Maintenance Plus or call (888) 829-8333. Together we can embrace the beautiful storm ahead!

Source: Sink – Espensorvik, Road – Gary