City launches ‘El Niño Preparedness’ initiative, Part 1


In preparation for the possibility of higher-than-average rainfall due to current El Niño conditions, the City of Canyon Lake has launched an “El Niño Preparedness initiative on the City’s website, The City also created a logo that will be used on all El Niño information released by the City.

These pages, which currently can be found under the heading “Services” at the top of the City’s homepage, will be used to disseminate crucial information to residents. City Manager Ariel Hall says that, in the event El Niño conditions create emergency situations or cause road closures, information will be posted onto these webpages and onto the City’s Facebook page as soon as possible.

“This will create a ‘one-stop-shop’ for residents to find the most up-to-date and accurate information possible,” she says. The information on some of the pages also is useful for such major disasters as damaging earthquakes. Topics include

  • Utility shutoff
  • Special needs populations
  • Questions and answers on El Niño
  • Emergency supplies
  • Evacuation
  • Before, during and after a flood
  • Sandbag techniques
  • Shelters
  • Relocation
  • Personal records and documents
  • General checklist for slope protection during El Niño
  • General checklist for property preparedness for El Niño

Probably most pertinent to Canyon Lake residents are those last two checklists. (The second checklist will appear next week.)

Slope Protection for El Niño

  1. Slopes – Visually inspect all sloped areas for signs of gullying, surface cracks, slumping, etc. Also inspect patios, retaining walls, garden walls, etc. for signs of cracking or rotation. Such signs might be indications of slope movement. If you notice any problems, have the site inspected by a geotechnical engineer as soon as possible.
  2. Bare Ground – Make sure your yard does not have large bare areas that could be sources for mudflows during a storm event. The fall is a good time to put down mulch and establish native plants; it may be possible to vegetate these bare areas before the storm season.
  3. Storm Drains – Visuall inspect nearby storm drains before the storm season and after every rain. If the storm drains are obstructed, clear the material from the drain or notify the POA.
  4. Bluff-top Inspections – Visually inspect all bluff top retaining walls, wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction before the season and after every storm.
  5. Irrigation System – Visually inspect all irrigation systems and surface waterlines for signs of leaking and to ensure that water is not being directed immediately at or over an area that could become unstable.
  6. Irrigation Shut-offs – There should be an easy way to shut off all irrigation systems during periods of high rain. Even if systems operate with moisture sensors, there should be a manual valve override
  7. Sandbags and Plastic – If there are small areas that could be affected by excess rainfall, consider stockpiling sandbags and plastic sheeting to divert water. Plastic can suffocate vegetation and create standing pools of water; therefore, it should not be left in place for long periods of time. Plastic used over several months should be inspected and maintained after every rain.
  8. Long-term Site Stability – If your property is in a landslide-prone area and has not been inspected for geologic stability, it may be prudent to hire a geologist or geotechnical engineer to survey the site and prepare a stabilization plan, possibly recommending temporary and permanent protection measures.
  9. Gutters and Runoff – Storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces (roofs, driveways, patios, etc.) should be directed into a collection system to avoid soil saturation and potential slope failure.

Sandbags and Sand

In October, the City ordered and received a load of sand for use in preparing sandbags. Residents will be allowed to fill sandbags at Fire Station 60. The City also is working to partner with a volunteer group to pre-fill sandbags for residents who are unable to fill them on their own. According to the City Manager, sandbags are available at Station 60 (on Vacation Dr.) next to the sand pile. If those run out, there are sandbags available at Blue Bird Hall and the POA Operations Yard.