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Preparing For El Niño: Tips To Protect San Diego Homes

Evening Edition Host Peggy Pico talks with California Insurance Department spokesperson Nancy Kincaid about the importance of flood insurance this year.

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Special Feature Navigating El Niño

The record-breaking El Niño predicted for California this winter brings with it the possibility of torrential rainfall. County officials warned there may be mudflows in San Diego like the those that hit north of Los Angeles two weeks ago.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, said in October that Californians should buy flood insurance.

Nancy Kincaid, press secretary with the California Department of Insurance, agreed with this advice, even for San Diegans who live in low flood risk areas.

She said because of previous wildfires in San Diego County, there isn't as much plant life to hold the water down.

"In the areas where there's more concrete and development, there isn't anywhere for the water to go," she said. In addition, four years of drought means "the land has parched in a way that makes it very difficult to absorb water."

"So we're going to hit the limit of what it can absorb sooner than it might in a normal rain year," she said.

Nan Sterman, a gardening expert and host of the KPBS television series "A Growing Passion," said drought tolerant plants "will be doing the happy dance" if it rains heavily this winter. She said while those plants can grow with less water, they won't be damaged by increased rains.

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