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photo: courtesy NCTD

NCTD Readies for Possible Effects of El Niño

Oceanside CA—North County Transit District (NCTD) has been working for the last three months to prepare NCTD facilities for the strengthening El Niño storm system in the Pacific Ocean. This weather pattern has the potential to become one of the most powerful on record, according to weather forecasters.  El Niño could bring extremely intense storms to the West Coast during the winter of 2015-2016.

In preparation for El Niño, NCTD is taking proactive measures to ensure safe and continuous transit operations, and to reduce the risk to NCTD facilities including railroad tracks, stations, and bus maintenance facilities.   Foreseeable storm impacts could include soil erosion onto or beneath rail tracks, flooding, failure of weak tree limbs, or loss of power.
During recent months, NCTD staff have taken action to mitigate potential risks associated with El Niño by:

  • trimming trees to reduce the likelihood of falling tree limbs;
  • stockpiling and staging key supplies such as sandbags, rail ballast and storm water filtration rolls;
  • reserving back-up equipment such as flatbed trucks for laying ballast and sandbags;
  • cleaning and protecting drainage facilities to prevent flooding and reduce storm water pollution; and
  • purchasing sump pumps and additional power generators to limit the impacts of flooding and power loss

“Our goal is to be as El Niño Ready as possible and to minimize storm and flooding impacts on our public transit facilities that could disrupt transit services for the public”, said Matthew Tucker, NCTD’s Executive Director.  “If the El Niño visits San Diego with the intensity expected, there will be flooding and erosion that will disrupt our operations but our goal is to be prepared and minimize the impacts of El Niño winter storms on transit riders.”

Special attention for this preparedness planning focused on potential erosion and runoff from slopes and bluffs along rail lines.  Preparedness plans also focused on potential flooding areas near rail lines and transit facilities in Sorrento Valley, Rose Canyon, Encinitas, Leucadia and Oceanside.  NCTD has also reached out to the other jurisdictions within the NCTD service area to discuss risks, share action plans and to partner where possible.
NCTD joins with the County of San Diego in encouraging all North County residents to be prepared for El Niño.  The County has several resources available to help resident get prepared which are available at the County’s special websites; ReadySanDiego.org and ListoSanDiego.org (Spanish).  These websites offer information on how to protect your family and home before and during storms and lots of flooding and erosion control resources. 
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