California mobilizes ahead of next round of storms, urges communities to prepare

SACRAMENTO – Working proactively to keep communities safe, California is mobilizing a whole-of-government response to a series of potentially dangerous incoming storms.

On Tuesday evening, January 30, a series of storms was expected to hit the state for the next 10 days and is expected to bring significant rain, high winds, deep snow as well as potential flash flooding and power outages.

At the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, the State Operations Center in Mather is being activated to coordinate a unified response to these storms across state, local and federal agencies.

The Governor has also directed the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to lead an early, proactive push to preposition state personnel and equipment into the communities most at risk of damage before the worst of the storms arrive. The state is also taking action to prepare for potential flooding by activating the Flood Operations Center for increased coordination and utilizing California’s spillways where necessary.

According to the National Weather Service, a significant series of weather systems will impact the state starting this week, bringing with them moderate to heavy rainfall, accumulating mountain snow and gusty winds of 60-70 miles per hour. Precipitation will begin across far northern California on Tuesday, spreading into the rest of the state Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This weather pattern will continue in the next few weeks, with above normal precipitation likely statewide, especially across Southern California.

“The state is working around the clock with our local partners to deploy life-saving equipment and resources statewide. With more storms on the horizon, we’ll continue to mobilize every available resource to protect Californians,” said Gov. Newsom.

The state is utilizing significant staffing and equipment resource investments made by the governor in recent years to bolster emergency response capacity.

Among the agencies who are actively working on storm response efforts are: Cal OES, the Department of Water Resources, California Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), California Conservation Corps, California Department of Social Services and the California National Guard.

5 things you can do to stay safer:

  • Stay connected. Californians are reminded to dial 311 to get help or ask questions. If you have a critical emergency, call 911. Stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts including warnings and evacuation notices. Go to CalAlerts.org to sign up to receive alerts from your county officials. Check in with loved ones and neighbors.
  • Get your information from trusted sources. During a disaster, it’s critical to have accurate information. Check state and local government or emergency management websites and social media accounts for trusted information specific to your area. Local news outlets and meteorologist are also a good source of information. Be wary of posts from unknown sources on social platforms or from online ‘experts’ without credentials.
  • Prepare for high winds. Before a high wind event: remove any dead trees or overhanging branches near structures, remove loose roofing material, bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies, secure outdoor objects that could blow away, shutter windows securely and brace outside doors. During a high wind event: take cover next to a building or under shelter, stay away from windows, stay clear of roadways and train tracks, avoid elevated areas such as roofs, watch for flying debris.
  • Travel safely. Avoid non-essential travel during the peak of the storm expected Sunday and Monday. If you must drive, download the QuickMap app or visit QuickMap (ca.gov)  to learn up-to-the-minute information on road conditions, traffic, closures, and more. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Be ready in case of power outages. Take inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Keep your devices charged. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs if the power goes out such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Also, plan accordingly for the potential of water outages.

More safety tips are available by visiting https://news.caloes.ca.gov/storm-safety-season-precipitation-on-the-horizon/.

For additional resources, visit the following:

  • Storm season safety guide: the state is sharing multilingual resources, deploying a network of community-based organizations through the Listos California campaign, and highlighting other work underway to protect at-risk communities this rainy season. Visit https://www.listoscalifornia.org/resources/?_resource_topics=storm-season-safety&_resource_formats=guide.
  • Prepare yourself through texts: Californians can sign up for a 5-lesson text message course through Listos California on what to do before, during and after floods, high winds, debris flows and other storm impacts. This course is available in English, Spanish, Hmong and Punjabi. Text “CAWINTER” to 20202 via SMS to sign up.
  • Visit the National Weather Service for current weather patterns in your area (https://www.weather.gov). (Gov. Newsom’s Office Release)

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