OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - People across the Bay Area are already preparing for the possibility of a very wet winter with the forecast of a powerful El Niño. Rain was sparse in 2015 from January through October. In fact, we experienced more record heat than days of rain. Now with a powerful El Niño in the forecast this winter, many Northern Californians are hoping for some relief.
Homeowners are hiring roofers, fencers, and repairmen to shore up their homes in case El Niño delivers some powerful storms. Some contractors say they are already booked solid.
"This year has been more than the last 10 years," said Frank Chavez, the owner of Skyview Tree Service. "People worry about trees falling into their houses."
Chavez says his phone has been ringing non-stop with customers looking to get limbs trimmed and trees pruned before the next storm hits.
“Anything can happen with El Niño," Chavez said.
Some contractors are so busy preparing homes and yards for El Niño-powered storms that they can't accept every job.
"The issue is, during the El Niño when the heavy weather is here and it's very wet, we can't do work those days. So we have so much work packed into the days its clear and pushes it even further and further back," said Justin Lena with A&J Fencing.
Lena says homeowners need to plan ahead before the wet weather arrives. Nothing is guaranteed with Mother Nature, but the early November rains have already prompted some homeowners to take precautions.
PG&E has been preparing for potential flooding, and downed trees and power lines for months. They've already held disaster preparedness exercises in anticipation of power outages and mudslides from winter storms.
"I can say we're more honestly prepared for this El Niño than we have been for any El Niño in our past history," said Kevin Clifford, senior meteorologist with PG&E.
PG&E is predicting a higher frequency of storm activity in the southern part of their service territory.
Normal rainfall for San Francisco averages about 23.5 inches. But the last two very strong El Niño years had nearly double that amount. In 1982-83 more than 46 inches fell. And in 1997 San Francisco saw more than 47 inches of rainfall.
There are several things you can do to prepare your home for the possibility of heavy rains. For starters, clean out your gutters, fix leaky roofs, and repair your windows and decks. You may also want to think about investing in a sump pump for basements and garages, or a generator if your neighborhood is susceptible to power outages. Also, don't forget about your car—replace wiper blades and give your tires a check-up.