El Nino is not a phrase that we hear very often in Toronto. Many times, we associate it with a weather phenomenon that happens in the Pacific Ocean. It can bring warm gusts of wind towards the West, and with it, some very drastic changes in weather systems. But this year, weather experts say that the El Nino this year could be so strong that places even as far east as Toronto could be affected. And while that makes for a nice piece of trivia, it could actually pose some problems for residents of Toronto, and their plumbing systems. 

What Is El Nino Anyway?

But before we get into that, a basic explanation of El Nino is necessary. Essentially El Nino happens as a result of the surface of the Pacific Ocean being warmer than usual. This causes more water to be released into the air, and that air is then carried into the North American continent. In general, it causes warmer weather and raised humidity, which can be both a boon and bane for certain climates. 

Since the air is much more humid, winters following an El Nino can result in serious issues for colder climates. In places farther north, the winters can be especially snowy, which can cause a lot of problems in terms of snow removal and cities simply moving around. Plus, come spring, the excess snow causes many more problems, including excess runoff and sometimes severe flooding. In cities where these types of weather events are unusual, the results can be particularly disastrous, partially because there isn’t enough infrastructure to deal with the problems. 

Fluctuating Weather Ahead

But such problems are felt in places where the weather can stay consistently below the freezing mark for long periods of time. Here in Toronto, the problems can actually be more severe, especially since our winters frequently fluctuate between freezing temperatures and weather just above. With more moisture in the air, especially when the weather is just below freezing, issues like ice storms can happen, which can cause problems in utilities, leading to power outages and even water delivery problems as a result of pipes freezing or bursting. 

More Water Coming Our Way…

With another El Nino already underway, Toronto homeowners should get ready by preparing for potentially more water and heavy storms during the winter. That means cleaning out the gutters before the first snowfall, and ensuring your property properly drains water away from the house. Getting your sump pump inspected is also another great idea, as freezing water can potentially harm these fragile yet powerful devices. Finally, stock up on supplies that may come in handy if you experience power outages or water shortages. This could include a generator or a water tank, for the most prepared, or simply an exit strategy. Either way, knowing how to turn off your plumbing through the main plumbing switch is always an important step. 

El Nino can sometimes affect areas as far east as Toronto and, as a result, it’s important to be prepared. Stock up on supplies and make sure your home plumbing system is ready for anything by hiring a trained professional to perform a plumbing inspection.

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