El Niño is coming with a vengeance this year according to weather forecasters, bringing 33-69% more rain than normal to California.

What is El Niño? Here’s a little background explaining what it is and how it works according to the NOAA  (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):

So what should you do to prepare your home for this wet winter? Here’s a handy checklist:

  1. Check your roof and make sure you don’t have any leaks. We’ve had a little bit of rain so far so if your roof hasn’t leaked yet, chances are you’re doing ok. But if it’s been a while and you’ve had leaks in the past, make sure you know which areas could be a potential issue once the rains get heavier and more frequent. Roofers have a busy schedule and may not be able to do a quick look over this late in the season, but they will come patch areas where leaks are most likely to occur. (Some customers have concerns about leaks when having solar panels installed – here’s what you should know: Will Installing Solar Panels Make My Roof Leak?)
  1. Clean gutters and downspouts – leaves are still dropping and the winds have blown a lot of debris around. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are cleaned regularly so that you don’t end up having water pooling on the roof.
  1. Check around window trim and doors for any areas where water could get in through. Exposed wood can absorb water, leading to dry rot and making it easier for termites to get to. Paint any trim that’s exposed and use caulking to seal any large gaps or cracks around windows.
  1. Take a look at any trees on your property and clear away hanging branches that are in danger of falling, especially if they are up against your house. Heavy branches can cause a lot of damage if they fall during high winds, such as knocking down gutters or breaking windows.
  1. If you live in an area that’s susceptible to flooding, make sure to have emergency supplies on hand, such as sandbags, straw wattle tubing, and heavy plastic. When using sandbags as a barrier, it’s best to stagger them and don’t leave any gaps for water to get through.
  1. Make sure your family’s disaster supply kit is in good shape. Most of us have some sort of emergency kit since we live in earthquake country, but it’s a good time to swap out any expired items and refill your drinking water supply. For ideas on what you should have for emergency supplies, take a look at what FEMA recommends stocking: Emergency Supply List