While preparing for winter weather is a common occurrence for property managers throughout the country, the preparation for this year’s winter may be slightly different. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted the return of El Niño this winter; one of the strongest on record. The return of El Niño means a shifting weather pattern, increasing the likelihood of increased moisture across a wide swath of the U.S.
With El Niño expected to impact Southern California, as well as Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, through Texas to Florida, the chance for inclement weather in these areas increases dramatically. And while this changing weather pattern can create havoc for most of us, property managers face a more daunting task; preparing their property for the possibility of increased inclement weather. And while none of us can accurately predict what the weather will be in the coming months, it’s important for property managers to be ready for the possibility of increased wet weather and intense storms. So what are some of the steps property managers can take today to be better prepared for the possibility of El Niño affecting their properties?
- Make sure that property insurance policies are current with adequate coverage. One of the things that you don’t want to happen is for a catastrophic weather event to occur and you’re your current policy is inadequate or lapsed.
- Make a point of checking windows and entryways, repairing or replacing loose panes, bent storm windows, or inadequate weather stripping.
- Check roofs for any loose shingles or potential leaks and repair them promptly.
- Walk the grounds and check for loose branches, damaged or dead trees, or other landscaping that could pose a hazard during a brutal winter storm.
- If your properties are in a low-lying area, be prepared for the possibility of extensive flooding from extended periods of rainfall. This can include everything from having sandbags ready to be deployed, to having an escape route planned out for residents in case of catastrophic flooding.
- Be prepared for other events such as loss of power for extended periods of time – which can mean no heat in some areas. Again, having an emergency plan can help.
- Stock up on flashlights, blankets, and non-perishable food items, and advise your residents to do the same.
- Be sure to convey this information on a timely basis to your residents; perhaps holding a special information day, or distributing emergency and evacuation plans with monthly rental receipts.
While no one can tell if severe weather will make a beeline for your properties, being prepared will help both your tenants, and your staff handle just about any situation they may be faced with this coming winter.