Nixle in Action: Preparing for El Nino
How do you prepare for the unexpected? What can you learn from past severe weather events? Are you ready for the next big El Nino?
Communities along the Southern Pacific Ocean are forced to ask themselves these questions with the upcoming storm, predicted to arrive in January and stay as long as May. El Nino typically cycles every three to seven years and brings unusually wet conditions causing flooding, mudslides, frequent storms, buckled roads, and destroyed homes.  A climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab warned that “these storms are imminent…El Nino is here. And it is huge.”
Communities that are in locations prone to the storm have already started preparing and have learned lessons from the strongest El Nino reported which was in 1988. With this year’s El Nino predicted to be the second largest by the National Weather Service,  no precaution is being overlooked. The California Department of Transportation has increased their maintenance staff by 25% and in Malibu, public works departments will be on call 24/7 during the storm. 
The key element of Malibu’s severe weather response plan is to ensure that the community has open communications with public safety officials. The Malibu Emergency Services coordinator, Brad Davis, advises, “Communication is a big part of understanding what’s coming up in front of you”. When disaster hits, safety officials need to be prepared with the tools to keep their residents informed. As a Nixle user, Malibu is equipped to send alerts to residents when the storm is approaching, advisories during the storm, and important community information after the storm. 
In Sierra Madre, the threat of El Nino is also on their mind. They are making sure to take precautions that will minimize the impact of the storm, including having a reliable form of communication with residents. One way that Elisa Cox, Assistant City Manager, plans to keep residents safe is by using Nixle to ensure that they have an advanced warning. Currently many communities are sharing safety tips to ensure that they are as prepared as possible. Unlike disasters such as earthquakes and fires, public safety agencies are able to prepare for what is ahead. They are taking full advantage to ensure effective community engagement that maintains open communication between residents as well as to inform them on what they need to do to prepare. As in most situations, they are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. With all the information that is available to us, Southern Pacific communities have the resources and time to be prepared for the storm ahead.
Nixle Message from Simi Valley Police Department about an El Nino Preparedness Event
With all of the hype surrounding El Nino, it is important to be prepared as well as reach out to the community with information and tips. In our recent webinar, “El Nino 2015-16: What’s Ahead and Winter Weather Preparedness”, our hosts from Weather Decisions Technologies, spoke about what to expect this upcoming season and best practices for severe weather notification. Click here to view our complimentary replay and be better prepared for what you can expect in the upcoming months.