SAN JOSE (CBS/AP) — Californians should hurry if they want to get a head start on El Niño.

Federal emergency officials are urging Californians to buy flood insurance — even those who don’t live near creeks or rivers — as El Niño conditions get underway in the Pacific Ocean, increasing chances for heavy storms this winter.

Roy Wright, a deputy associate administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, encouraged Californians to take the threat of El Niño seriously.

Wright said Friday that if there ever was a time to buy flood insurance “this is that time.”

5 Things To Do Now To Prepare For Strong, Rainy El Niño

Forecasters say that January, February and March are expected to get the brunt of this winter’s heavy rainfall across California.

Wright says there is a 30-day waiting period for new flood insurance policies to go into effect.

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