SACRAMENTO – As another atmospheric river descends on California, Governor Gavin Newsom today requested a Presidential Emergency Declaration to authorize federal assistance supporting the state and local response to the severe storms impacting much of the state.
With storms forecasted to continue through mid-March, the Governor yesterday proclaimed a state of emergency in 21 counties to support disaster response and relief efforts, following the state of emergency he proclaimed in an initial 13 counties earlier this month.
“California is deploying every tool we have to protect communities from the relentless and deadly storms battering our state,” said Governor Newsom. “In these dangerous and challenging conditions, it is crucial that Californians remain vigilant and follow all guidance from local emergency responders.”
If approved, the emergency declaration would enable impacted counties to immediately access Direct Federal Assistance to help protect public safety and property. The request for Direct Federal Assistance includes generators, road clearance equipment and potential sheltering and mass care assistance.
The Governor’s request to President Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Agency can be found here.
California is mobilizing personnel and resources to storm-impacted communities throughout the state:
CAL FIRE and Partner Agencies
- 43 crews active statewide, 12 of which are committed to the San Bernardino storm incident (includes crews from California National Guard, California Conservation Corps, and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.)
- Two helicopters, two dozers and an Incident Management Team, among other resources.
California National Guard
- The California National Guard is pre-positioning High Water Vehicles and aircraft in preparation for flood response operations.
California Department of Transportation
- Mobilized more than 4,000 crew members to hundreds of incidents statewide, working 24/7 in shifts.
- In San Bernardino County, more than 57 Caltrans employees operating 40 high-powered pieces of equipment, including snowplows, graders, loaders and dump trucks, have removed more than 12.6 million cubic yards of snow off state highways as of March 8, which equates to more than 3,800 Olympic-size swimming pools.
California Highway Patrol
- Increasing resources in targeted areas to help address storm-related needs – including ensuring full staffing for air operation missions, ready to deploy as needed.
- CHP and Caltrans escorts have been deployed to ensure the safe delivery of food and fuel to the Big Bear and west mountain communities.
Cal OES and Partner Agencies
- Opened 8 shelters in the counties of San Bernardino, Stanislaus, Madera, Merced, Fresno, Butte and Nevada, and facilitated food donations through the California Grocers Association to provide meal kits in San Bernardino County.
- Cal OES has sent 120 operators and over 60 pieces of heavy-duty snow removal equipment to dig out the snow-locked communities of San Bernardino. These resources are removing massive amounts of snow from public roads and other sites to help residents get access to needed supplies.
- Prepositioned 20 swiftwater rescue and urban search and rescue teams, more than 50 fire engines, and over 60 personnel to provide aid to communities impacted by the extreme weather.
Safety Tips for Californians:
Californians can dial 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 to get help or ask questions. If you have a critical emergency, call 9-1-1.
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.
Driving and Road Closures
Avoid non-essential travel during the peak of the storm through Saturday. If you must drive, download the QuickMap app or visit QuickMap.dot.ca.gov to learn up-to-the-minute information on road conditions, traffic, closures, chain control and more.
Take inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. 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. Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
If you are under a Flood Warning:
- Find safe shelter right away.
- 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.
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.
- Know your medical needs.
Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Know how long your medications can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
Portable back-up generators produce the poison gas carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an odorless, colorless gas that kills without warning. It claims the lives of hundreds of people every year and makes thousands more ill. Follow these steps to keep your family safe.
When using Portable Generators:
- Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open.
- Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.
- Install battery-operated or battery back-up CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home.
- Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.
Have enough nonperishable food and water for every member of your household for three days. Open freezers and refrigerators only when necessary. Your refrigerator can keep food cold for four hours without power. A full freezer will maintain temperature for two days. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer. Throw out food if temperatures reach 40 degrees or higher.