El Niño

What is El Niño?

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El Niño conditions are characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. Weather experts have been closely monitoring the increasingly warm temperatures since early 2015, giving them strong confidence to predict a strong El Niño.

El Niño conditions do not “cause” individual storms but rather influence their frequency and characteristics. This El Niño event is forecast to rival previous strong El Niño events, such as 1982/83 and 1997/98.


What does this mean for San Diego? 

For more information on El Niño conditions, visit the National Weather Service El Niño Theme Page.

El Niño can bring increased rainfall across Southern California, and in San Diego, this could increase the potential for flooding, mud slides and debris flow.

El Niño & Family Readiness

Make a Family Disaster Plan

It is important for you and your family to plan in advance, to know how you will communicate and meet during and after disasters, and what you will do in different situations. The Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide is designed to help families be prepared in the event of disaster. Remember to include your pets as a part of your plan.

Be Flood Ready

Learn what actions you should take when you learn of potential flooding in your area.  Also, learn what steps to take before, during, and after a flood.

Other Resources

Department of Public Works Service Requests

If you live in the unincorporated area and need assistance with any of the following:

  • Potholes
  • Raised or Sunken Trench
  • Rock or Mudslide
  • Sweeping Request
  • Glass or Debris in Roadway
  • Street Lights
  • Drainage
  • Flooding
  • Culvert or Storm Drain Plugged
  • Debris/Vegetation in Channel
  • Water Flows Down Driveway
  • Downed, Missing, or Damaged Street Signs

Please complete the County Department of Public Works Road Service Request Form to help resolve the issue. If it is after hours, please call the 24-hr line at (858) 565-5262 to report the problem.

For incorporated jurisdictions please contact your local public works department.

How to Determine if There are Public Drainage Facilities on Your Property

  • Check your Title Report or Contact Your Title Company 
    When you purchased your property a Title Report would have been included with your paperwork which would show any existing easements on the property at the time of purchase. If you no longer have your title, any title company can create a new one for you for a fee.
  • Check the County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk Official Records Search  
    You can search for recorded easements on the property by Document Type, Document Number, Name, 10-Digit APN, or Record Date. 
  • Check the County of San Diego Survey Records System, a web-based records viewing and retrieval system:  
    The Survey Records System (SRS) is an on-line tool to research plans and record drawings which would show any existing easements on the property at the time the document was recorded. There is a fee to download documents.
  • Visit the County Operations Center: Cartographic Services - 5510 Overland Drive – 2nd Floor (Kearny Mesa) 
    Cartographic Services has the same documents that are available on-line at the SRS. There is a fee to make copies of documents.
  • Hire an Engineer or Surveyor to do the research for you 
    This kind of research and interpreting documents can be complex. If you need assistance there are many firms that can perform this work for you for a fee.

Flood Control Webcams

The San Diego County Flood Control District maintains several webcams at selected low water crossings throughout the county. You can view streaming video from the cameras to see the current state of the low water crossings.

The County currently maintains three webcams: the Quarry Road Dip on Spring Valley Creek in Spring Valley, the Sandia Creek Road Dip on the Santa Margarita River in Fallbrook, and the Country Club Road Dip on Escondido Creek in Harmony Grove.

Protecting Your Property


Sandbags help to divert or redirect water, mud and debris from your property and help prevent soil erosion.

Free sand and sandbags are available to residents and business throughout San Diego County at the following locations:

Sandbags are also available at these retail vendors.

For more information on flood debris and erosion control, view the Homeowner’s Guide for Flood, Debris, and Erosion Control.

Sandbags can help protect your property from major damage, but sandbags will not seal out water, which is why it is important to make sure your property is financially covered.


Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. It is important to have protection from the floods associated with heavy rains here in San Diego County. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available to property owners to financially protect themselves.

Understanding Your Flood Risk

FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center is the official public source for flood hazard information. There, you can find official flood maps and other resources to get a better understanding of your flood risk.

Residents in recent wildfire burn areas should be aware of the increased potential for mud slides, debris flow, and severe flooding.  The San Diego County Adverse Weather Map displays the 100-year Floodplain, recent fire burn areas, and weather alerts.

How Much Would a Flood Cost?

It only takes a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home or business and its contents. Learn more about the cost of flooding.


Prepare your business for El Niño. Consider these preparedness tips.

Stay Informed

Register with AlertSanDiego

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Sign up for the County’s regional emergency notification system to get alerts via phone, text message, and email with important emergency and disaster information.  Get signed up. Get notified.

Install the SD Emergency Mobile App

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The must – have preparedness app. The SD Emergency App contains disaster preparedness information, interactive checklists to help you to create your emergency plan, build an emergency supplies kit, and when disaster strikes; the SD Emergency App will keep you and your family informed with emergency updates, interactive emergency maps, and shelter locations.

Download the app today for iOS (App Store) or Android (Google Play Store).

Stay Connected – Follow Us

You can follow the County Office of Emergency Services on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter icon @ReadySanDiego OES logo
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Storm and Road Event Updates

Visit the County Department of Public Works Storm and Road Events Updates webpage to find out about road closures in the unincorporated area.

You can also view immediate updates on road conditions and other safety advisories on social media, by following the County Department of Public Works on Twitter and Facebook:

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Facebook icon SDCountyDPW