‘El Nino’ is Spanish for ‘Flooded Basement’

Posted by Matt Buchanan

Ok, not really. But you might as well be thinking about the relationship between the two and doing whatever you can to make sure the coming El Nino doesn’t end up causing a flooded basement in your home. While we’re not weather experts, we do like to stay informed on major weather patterns across the country and if early reports are any indication, we could have a serious weather pattern hit the US during the winter of 2015-2016 and spring of 2016.


What is El Nino and why should I worry about basement flooding?


A very basic explanation of El Nino is a rise in sea temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that sets off a chain of unusual weather patterns across the globe. For some areas, it means drought and for other areas it means high levels of moisture. It just so happens the US sits in the path of the high moisture pattern. In other words, tons of snow and rain. The most serious El Nino pattern we’ve seen in recent memory occurred in 1997. Below is a comparison of that year and the current system developing:



So what impact does El Nino have on the US specifically?


Generally speaking, there are a few things that are likely should El Nino unfold like many are anticipating:

– storms and flooding in Southern California

– less snowfall in the Pacific Northwest US

– greater snowfall in the Great Lakes area and Northeast US

– warmer weather across the country

– flooding in the Southeast & Gulf states

So while El Nino typically results in higher winter temperatures, the downside is more snowfall in many well-populated areas of the country. And one thing we know is that more snowfall means flooded basements.


What should I do to protect my basement from flooding?


If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know this is a topic we discuss often. Why? Because so many basement floods never needed to occur. So here again is a quick rundown of the things you can do right now in preparation for El Nino:


Fix up any cracks you have in your foundation walls. Snowmelt loves finding its way into your basement. While concrete is porous and even without the presence of cracks it can seep in, the best thing you can do is buy some foundation repair kit and seal any cracks to prevent a flooded basement.


flooded-basement-sump-pumpInstall and/or test your sump pump. If you already have one, great! If you don’t, now is the time to invest in one. Sump pumps act as your last line of defense against water in your basement. In fact, they trap the water that is about to sneak into your basement and pump it outside of your home. If your basement is already equipped with one, make sure you test it by pouring water into the basin and seeing if it kicks on and works properly. If not, call a plumber and have it inspected. The last thing you want is to have invested in this prevention device and have it fail right when you need it!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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