September is National Preparedness Month, and the Mountain Disaster Preparedness group wants Hill residents to prepare for a significantly wet fall and winter.
The National Weather Service has forecast that a major El Niño will arrive this fall and continue to affect local weather through spring 2016. On Thursday, the NWS Climate Prediction Center wrote “… an ongoing El Niño … will reach its peak intensity (strong El Niño) by late autumn … precipitation outlook indicates enhanced probabilities of above-median precipitation amounts for the southeastern half of California.”
With this forecast, MDP President Mike Feyder wants the community prepared in case the heavy and long rains occur. The last major wet winter was 1997-98 when more than 40 inches of rain fell, more than 17 inches just in February.
Feyder reviewed MDP minutes from that year and found “many calls for sand bags and homes impacted by flooding.”
So rather than earthquakes or fires, Feyder believes that floods and run-off are more appropriate topics this year. “If a major event could happen in ’97, it could be the same in 2015,” he noted.
On Tuesday, Sept. 1, MDP will sponsor a special meeting with several speakers who will address the fall and winter weather and how to prepare for the possible consequences.
Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the NWS San Diego, will discuss the latest forecasts and put them in context with other recent El Niño forecasts and 1997.
Julian Geisinger, a geologist, and Debora Geisinger, a certified arborist, will speak about the effects of this much precipitation. He will address topics such as erosion control, berms, terracing and basins, structure protection and water harvesting.
Debora, his wife, will talk about how this much moisture, so sudden, will affect plant life and trees.
The MDP Prepared for El Niño meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, at the Idyllwild Library,