The El Niño Cycle
El Niño is a pool of warm water that forms in the subtropical latitudes of the Pacific Ocean every few years or so. This change in temperature causes a change in global wind patterns, particularly affecting the eastern parts of Asia and just about every part of North and South America.
As far as Florida is concerned, the big effect is a shift in wind coming from the Pacific: during the low-temperature end of the cycle, subtropical Pacific air angles northeast into Texas and the Northeast, but when El Niño is in full swing the wind blows straight across Mexico and towards Florida, picking up a lot of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it approaches. And with an unusually powerful El Niño forming this winter, not only will Florida have to deal with plenty of heavy rainstorms, we may also see the occasional hailstorm and tornado.
How To Prepare
For the most part, you prepare for a wet winter the same way you prepare for hurricane season: make sure your basement and your roof aren’t leaking, keep your windows in good condition, don’t leave anything important out on the lawn, and always keep an ear to the radio for flood and flash flood warnings. The most important thing is to simply avoid letting your guard down just because hurricane season is officially over.
There are a few considerations regarding your car, too. In the first place, you should avoid driving if you can during a heavy downpour: roads can get fairly slippery when you add just a little water, especially if you’re going at highway speeds. If there are flood or flash flood warnings out there, you shouldn’t trust any standing or rushing water that covers the road unless you know for sure how deep it is. It’s possible for as little as a foot of rushing water to carry away a small car, and two feet can float an entire bus.
With hailstorms it’s all about the size. Small hailstones barely bigger than raindrops aren’t a major problem, but once the stones get to around 1 inch in diameter you’ll start to see some permanent dents in cars and other metal objects.
As for tornadoes, all you can really do is take shelter in the lowest part of your house as far away from any windows as possible and hope that it doesn’t touch down anywhere near you.
How To Survive The Aftermath
Depending on the scale of the damage, your area may get financial assistance from the state and federal governments. However, you’ll also have to deal with your homeowner’s, renter’s, health, and/or auto insurance provider, and depending on who you encounter and how much your claim is for, you may find the process to be simple and easy or else difficult and unnecessarily complicated.
Insurance companies are for-profit corporations who make money by keeping their premiums higher than their claims payouts, and sometimes these companies will resort to some rather underhanded tactics in order to avoid paying out a valid claim. These tactics include lowballing the initial offer, stalling for time until you can’t afford to hold out, asking for every bit of paperwork they can, and sending out investigators who will sniff around for the faintest whiff of fraud.
Fortunately, there are ways to defend yourself from these tactics. Personal injury lawyers like those of All Injuries Law Firm have a lot of experience in dealing with hesitating insurance companies, and at the same time insurance companies have a lot of experience dealing with lawyers, which means they know which firms can keep up a full legal battle and which ones can’t. The All Injuries Law Firm happens to be one of the first kind, and as such insurers will often hand out a decent settlement simply to avoid the expense of a full court case.
So if Florida’s El Niño winter treats you badly and you live in or around Port Charlotte or Sarasota, contact us today for a free case review. If your insurance adjuster is giving you problems, we’ll do our best to provide you with a solution.