North Bay prepares for next storms

- The Aitkens, veterans of 40 most rainy North Bay winters, were taking no chances by packing sandbags, as more rain zeroed on an already soaked and saturated Marin County. In this case, a few pounds of prevention is worth a ton of cure. "Getting ready for the next big storm. We've packed bags before and they seem to help. We get a lot of runoff," said Grant Aitken.

But the drought, has caused many to forget about torrential rains and flooding. Newer residents, never had the experience as we learned at the Marin Ace Hardware store in San Rafael.

Many are dealing with problems from the last storm, buying items to solve problems after the fact, like dehumidifiers.  "We sell so many of them right now because they didn't anticipate that they were gonna flood," said Mary Ellen Winkler, a Marin Ace salesperson. "A lot of the time they're asking for sump pumps, tarps, everything to cover up what the need, they also want rain suits to cover themselves," said Spencer Tyrrell, Marin Ace's Manager.

Sump pumps remain the number one way to control in-house flooding once it starts. To prevent water intrusion, consider sand bags or something new called hydro barriers: thick, pliable plastic bladders that, when filled with water, do the same thing. Once emptied they can be refilled and used over and over for years to come.

If you get a tarp. make sure you get enough rope to keep them securely tied down. "A lot of people ignore the roof until it starts leaking, so, a lot of people will be looking for things like roof patch, leak stoppers and everything like that. So, caulking, stoppers like Henry's wet patch, everything," says Ace Manager Tyrrell.

The best thing about a hardware or home store is that they usually have a lot of people who are expert in many things. That is; they can not only help you determine what it is you need to buy, but how to use what you bought in the correct way. "You know, I think they're pretty knowledgeable. Really, especially when they gear up for emergencies we might have here in the county," said Barbara Aitken. "They're always there to help you. They come up and ask you.  You don't have to seek them out . And, I think they know a lot of things about a lot of different things," said Pamela Lucke, and Ace customer. "It's a huge store; high inventory.  They know everything. They know where to go, so, it's great," said John Singleterry, another customer.

Best advice: take an inventory of your home's potential weaknesses and act before the wind and rain get more chances to do your home in.

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