California is known for its great weather, but we still have severe weather events where some preparation can make a huge difference in how well you weather a storm.  The geography is diverse, ranging from ocean-front homes, to snowy mountainous terrain, and everything in-between.

  1. Trim large trees around your property, especially those located near structures. And use a professional tree service to remove limbs close to utility lines. This helps in two ways… for those of us that live in areas prone to high winds, there is less chance of downed trees and branches.  For those that live above the snow line, trimming trees reduces the weight of accumulated snow on your trees.  Less weight translates into fewer broken branches.
  2. If your area has the potential to flood in severe weather, it’s a good idea to have a supply of sandbags to help divert water away from buildings. You should also park your vehicles on “high ground” and away from large trees that could damage them with falling branches.
  3. Make sure your roof and gutters are clean and in good condition. Your windows and doors should seal securely to prevent water intrusion.
  4. Store outdoor furniture in a protected location and consider all-weather rated covers for items that cannot be safely stored.
  5. Remember to relocate wind-chimes and hanging outdoor plants that might be damaged by high winds or excessive snow/rainfall.
  6. For severe weather, prepare an emergency kit. According to, a typical emergency kit should things like first aid items, a battery-powered or hand crank NOAA Weather Radio, non-prescription medications (such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, etc.), flashlights, extra batteries, a whistle to signal for help, local maps, cash or traveler’s checks, copies of important family documents (such as insurance policies and identification), a fire extinguisher, matches in a waterproof container, candles, blankets and sleeping bags.
  7. Be prepared in case you lose power. Charge your cell phones ahead of the storm and make sure you have some portable battery backups on hand as well, in case the power goes out for an extended period of time. It’s also a good idea to have flashlights or battery-powered lights handy throughout the house so you don’t have to stumble around looking for them.  If you live in an area where power outages are frequent, a power generator can be a welcome addition. If you have a portable one, make sure you have plenty of fuel, so that you can run it as long as necessary. Be sure to run portable models outside and away from windows.
  8. Stock your food pantry. Make sure you have enough provisions in case you are unable to travel to the market.  Stock enough food and water to outlast the storm, particularly foods that do not need to be cooked, or refrigerated for storage.
  9. Fill Your Prescriptions and Pick Up Hygiene Items. Make sure you have all your medication prescriptions filled so that you have enough on hand to last several days longer than the anticipated storm to be on the safe side. This will save you having to make a run to the pharmacy when the roads are dangerous.  Also stock-up on hygiene items that you might need, including diapers, toilet paper, tampons and toothpaste. It can also be helpful to pick up moist toilettes in case water is in short supply.
  10. If you live in an area where temperatures may drop below 28 degrees for periods longer than four hours, make sure any exposed water lines are well insulated. To help prevent frozen pipes, let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes, because running water, even when just a trickle, is less likely to freeze.
  11. Make An Emergency Communication Plan with your Family. Even if you charge your mobile phones ahead of the storm, you might not always have cell reception, so make sure you have a backup plan with your family on how you can connect in an emergency.
  12. Be sure to know or write down important family phone numbers and designate an out-of-town contact who can help you reconnect with everyone if you get separated.

If you have any questions about financing or refinancing your home in-between storms, please feel free to contact us.