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UCR's emergency managers are planning for a very wet El Nino winter

A glimpse of things to come? Serious rain outside Hinderaker Hall on Sept. 9 could be a harbinger of a very wet El Nino winter.  video by Mojgan Sherkat

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Extremely wet weather is predicted for this winter by the National Weather Service. UC Riverside emergency response planners are finding sandbags and cleaning out drains to prepare for the storms known as “El Nino.”

“The campus’ existing drainage system can handle rainfall of up to one inch per hour,” said Bob Slater, interim director of physical plant. “That’s a lot of rain. But if it goes beyond that, we may be tested.”

Lisa Martin, the emergency manager for the campus, is among a team of people testing and identifying problem areas. She is working with the city and county on planning.

“We are looking for areas of campus that typically flood,” Martin said. For example, the dip at the entrance to campus from Martin Luther King sometimes becomes a small lake. If that happens, TAPS will have an alternative route to suggest to drivers, as well as cones and signage in place quickly.

The campus rebuilt a road into the Botanic Gardens because of heavy rains several years ago, so that area will be less vulnerable to flooding this year. Physical plant has cleared out campus drains and installed sensors in low lying basements to give an early warning if flooding begins.

“We are trying to minimize the damage to campus,” said Erica Healander, who works in risk management.

“Disaster preparation and response is everyone’s responsibility,” said Martin. She suggested that every member of the campus community sign up for emergency notification.

Sources for those warnings include:


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