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Is Santa Barbara Ready for El Niño?

El Nino waves at the beachSanta Barbara is set to weather the storm

In a recent blog, I asked, “Are you ready for El Niño?” While the impact of this winter’s El Niño forecast remains uncertain, many of us in Santa Barbara are ready for whatever comes our way. Some residents are busy clearing out drains, placing sandbags strategically around their homes, and adding flood insurance to their homeowner policy. National Public Radio affiliate KCRW spoke with local residents and officials regarding their plans for wet skies, heavy winds and strong seas reportedly coming our way. Here are a few of the stories:

  • The Santa Barbara Harbor
    Santa Barbara Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman is preparing the harbor for predicted strong El Niño weather. “The major concern comes from the sea, not from the sky. The big problem is gale force winds and huge tides.” He says one of the scary parts about big swells in the winter is the ‘lookie-loos’ who come down to watch the waves along the breakwater. We had signs up a few years ago. A few people got washed right over the railing and onto the rocks,” Kronman says. “Harbor Patrol will be prepared to undertake ocean rescue if it needs to.”
  • Local Homeless
    Tamme Dishion, a volunteer with the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, says the homeless should prepare for the El Niño weather well before it hits. “You need tarps, certain kinds of foods, more than one blanket, flashlights, a radio, things you don’t think about until you need them in the moment. It’s hard to find a covered spot to sleep. Those who can’t make it to a warming shelter use awnings, vans, tents, and cardboard to stay as warm and dry as possible. It’s hard when it rains; it really is,” she says. “It makes you think about your life a little bit more.”
  • The Sand Berm
    Jill Van Wie, manager of capital projects for Santa Barbara County’s Parks Division, has been involved in constructing the winter sand berm from the Goleta Pier to the eastern edge of UCSB’s campus. The 8-foot-tall wall of 23,000 cubic yards of sand stretches a half-mile. The berm was built in early December after the county received a permit from the California Coastal Commission. But, unanticipated high tides and strong swells washed parts of it away. “The berm has done an excellent job of protecting the beach, but it gave us a glimpse of what likely will happen in an even stronger capacity in the coming months,” says Van Wie, who thinks the county may have to consider stronger installations, like geotextile bags.

I hope reading this blog gives you some food for thought about the coming El Niño. Please keep in mind I offer my clients an extensive list of resources that may come in handy this winter. It includes building contractors, service professionals, insurance specialists and more. I don’t just sell homes, I’m my clients’ virtual concierge when it comes to real estate-related needs in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities. Just call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com and let me put my market knowledge, contacts and winning strategy to work for you.

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