Floods, Mudslides, and Wildfire Simultaneously Trouble California County
Why only having homeowners insurance might not be enough!
On Friday, a tropical storm in Southern California threatened to bring high winds, lightning, flooding, and mudslides to the region, placing Riverside County under multiple extreme weather advisories alongside an already growing wildfire.
Two individuals had died due to the Fairview fire, which had consumed more than 27,000 acres of Riverside County by Thursday night. More than 18,500 people had been given the go-ahead to leave, and 2,153 firemen from the state’s firefighting agency, Cal Fire, had been dispatched.
Emergency personnel were also on high alert for an approaching storm. As Tropical Storm Kay, once a hurricane, approached the Mexican coast of Baja California early on Friday, the National Weather Service issued warnings for the county’s heavy winds, flooding, and severe heat.
As per the local officials, the conflicting advisories could trigger a domino effect that makes it harder to respond to individual events. They anticipated the rain would put out some fires, but they were also ready for the storm’s lightning, which could start more fires. Strong winds that can gust up to 75 miles per hour in the desert and mountains may also hasten the development of the fire.
Firefighters also prepared for flash floods and mudslides. According to the National Weather Service, up to seven inches of rain were expected in some portions of Riverside County. According to emergency personnel, the land is now more vulnerable to erosion from the rain because of the fire.
California has already seen both wildfires and flooding. In Santa Barbara County in 2018, the rapid flooding and mudslides that followed the Thomas Fire claimed at least 21 lives. In Marin County in 2019, waves of torrential rain caused mudslides in areas that had been charred by wildfires the year before.
“The fire makes the soil hydrophobic. It doesn’t absorb water like it usually does,” says Shane Reichardt, a Riverside County’s Emergency Management Department spokesman. “There’s also no vegetation to hold the soil in place. So, it increases the possibility of mud debris flow.”
“We really just want people to follow the instructions of the public safety officials,” Mr. Reichardt added, “and if they’re under an evacuation order it’s just critically important that they take that order very seriously.”
For the Fairview fire, presently the largest in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Riverside County on Thursday. El Dorado and Placer Counties were also included in the proclamation for the Mosquito fire’s second-largest fire.
Homeowners Insurance alone isn’t enough for these situations
While you might think that Homeowners Insurance protects your home from all hazards, accidents, and dangers, the reality is something different. Protecting your home with a home insurance policy is a must, but the coverage can only do so much.
If you would like protection from natural disasters and different types of hazards, you will need to get Flood Insurance and Hazard Insurance separately. And if you want to know what other coverages you might require, talking to an insurance agent is a great idea.
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