El Niño storms are estimated to be their strongest in years, and now is a great time to get prepared for what is estimated to be among the top three strongest El Niño storms since 1950, bringing projected seasonal rainfall 125-175% above normal across all of SDG&E’s entire service territory.
SDG&E has been preparing
We have been taking a number of precautions to try to minimize storm-related outages.
Additionally, we have a team of meteorologists on staff and experienced crews on hand, who have been part of a team preparing for the intense storms that El Niño is expected to bring.
Some specifics of what we’re doing:
- SDG&E’s Meteorology team is developing a Storm Threat Assessment Model to help anticipate an upcoming storm and its potential impacts, which will help us properly stage SDG&E crews in the appropriate spot.
- SDG&E’s regional field offices are currently increasing its inventory of equipment, such as fuses, power poles, sand, sandbags and plastic sheeting in the case a major storm occurs.
- In addition, each field office will have floodwater removal equipment on hand to help remove water in our underground facilities, if needed.
- SDG&E crews have completed assessments of all facilities to make sure everything is ready for the storm season.
- This includes areas that are subject to flooding, sinkholes, landslides, and land erosion.
- SDG&E has staged emergency equipment for a quick response at each of our regional field offices.
- During a major event, the company is prepared to mobilize extra field personnel. Should more help be required, the company has the ability to draw from local contractors that can also provide assistance.
- Oftentimes outages are caused by tree branches or palm fronds touching power lines. To meet reliability and safety targets, SDG&E has stepped up its tree-trimming efforts. The typical SDG&E crew trims about 2,500 trees a year.
- Extra inspections of the entire electric and gas system -- from transmission towers and substations to neighborhood power lines -- are being completed to prevent damage or lessen outages during storms. SDG&E has more than 25,200 total miles of overhead and underground power lines on its system.
Before an outage
Prepare for the storm by:
- Create an emergency kit and if you’ve already got an emergency kit prepared, check it regularly. Here’s a list of things to add to your emergency kit.
- Check your car. Make sure your tires are in good shape and that your windshield wipers work well.
- Check your house. Clear your outdoor drains and gutters of any leaves, dirt or debris. Secure trash, recycling bins and any other items that have the potential of blowing or floating away.
- Install the SD Emergency Mobile App: When disaster strikes the SD Emergency App will keep you and your family informed with emergency updates, interactive emergency maps, and shelter locations.
During an outage
- Unplug your sensitive equipment such as fax machines, microwaves, computers and televisions.
- Turn off any major appliances like big-screen TVs or air conditioner if the power goes out to prevent potential damage from a power surge when service is restored.
- Leave a single light on so you’ll be aware the power has been restored.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help prevent food spoilage. Food in a closed freezer can stay frozen for up to two days.
- If you see downed electric lines or other electric emergencies, call us at 1-800-411-SDGE (7343).
After an outage
- Reset your clocks and other electronic equipment.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
- Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
- Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.