SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is warning that this year’s El Niño could be as costly and devastating as the one that drenched California in 1997-98. Back then, devastating storms killed 17 people and caused $550 million dollars in damages.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, here are 5 things you can do now to prepare for a strong El Niño:

  • Check your property. Clear drains, rain gutters and downspouts of debris;
  • Get flood insurance. If you already have it, check your policy to make sure you have enough coverage;
  • Make copies of all your important documents and make sure the originals are stored safely somewhere outside of your home (like a safe deposit box);
  • Take photos of your possessions (furniture, collectibles, electronics) and store the pictures along with your important documents outside of your home;
  • Make an itemized list of clothes, books and small appliances and other possessions, and start saving receipts when you purchase items so you’ll have proof of their original cost.
READ MORE: Storm Watch: Evacuation Orders Issued for CZU Burn Zones in Santa Cruz County


READ MORE: Police Activity Temporarily Shuts Highway 17 Saturday Afternoon writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.

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