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Governor requests presidential emergency declaration to support storm response 

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Gov. Newsom tours a flood safety project site along Deer Creek in Sacramento County.

Since late December, 12 Californians have died from storm-related impacts, according to the governor’s office

– As winter storms continue to pummel California, Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday submitted a request to the White House for a Presidential Emergency Declaration to support ongoing storm response and recovery efforts.

If approved, the declaration will activate the full weight of the federal government behind California’s storm response and allow the state to immediately access federal resources and personnel. The governor’s request to President Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Agency can be found here.

Also Sunday, Governor Newsom visited two sites along Deer Creek in Sacramento County to highlight the state’s work to repair damage from earlier storms and prepare for incoming severe weather. The governor also announced $202 million in new investments for long-term flood prevention proposed in the upcoming state budget.

Since late December, 12 Californians have died from storm-related impacts, including flooding – more than the number of civilians who lost their lives to wildfires in the past two years combined.

“We are in the middle of a deadly barrage of winter storms – and California is using every resource at its disposal to protect lives and limit damage,” said Governor Newsom. “We are taking the threat from these storms seriously, and want to make sure that Californians stay vigilant as more storms head our way.”

Flood investments and projects

The Newsom Administration has invested $738 million in flood protection programs in just the last two years, including flood protection projects, infrastructure maintenance, and weather forecasting. Combined with federal funding, California has funded and delivered:

More than 300 miles of urban and 120 miles of non-urban levees improved since 2007

88 flood protection projects spanning system-wide, urban and rural upgrades completed since 2016, including crucial improvements to Folsom Dam, providing increased protection for 440,000 people

The governor will propose an additional $202 million in his Jan. 10 budget proposal for new flood investments to protect urban areas, improve levees in the Delta region, and support projects in the Central Valley.

Gov. Newsom tours a flood safety project site along Deer Creek in Sacramento County.

Gov. Newsom tours a flood safety project site along Deer Creek in Sacramento County.

 

The fifth atmospheric river in recent days is forecasted to bring high winds and several inches of rain and snow throughout the state late Sunday into early Monday, with precipitation expected through Monday night. More storms are possible throughout the week.

The National Weather Service expects “widespread and potentially significant flood impacts” associated with this storm due to the saturation of the soil from the previous week of rainfall.

State of emergency

The state of emergency continues to be in effect throughout California to support the ongoing response to recent winter storms.

Last week, the Governor also activated the State Operations Center to its highest level, and the state and federal government have stood up the Flood Operations Center, which covers forecasting, reservoir operations coordination, and provides technical support as well as flood fighting materials like sandbags for local government agencies.

Flood Risk

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.

 

Pre-positioning resources

The state has pre-positioned fire and rescue equipment and personnel to support local resources across the state. Teams, including personnel from the California National Guard, will mobilize quickly in the event of mudflows, avalanches, or flash floods.

Support for unsheltered and vulnerable Californians

California has mobilized to ensure vulnerable Californians, including those experiencing homelessness, older Californians, and those with disabilities, have access to services.

  • Department of Social Services is prepared to work alongside local partners and the American Red Cross to establish congregate shelters.
  • Department of Public Health is prepared to deploy regional staff to support hospitals and healthcare facilities.
  • Department of Health Care Access and Information is prepared to deploy structural engineers to healthcare facilities to evaluate impacts to infrastructure.
  • Emergency Medical Services Authority is prepared to deploy ambulance strike teams.

 

Driving and road closures

Never drive in flooded areas. Avoid non-essential travel during the peak of the storm on Sunday night and Monday morning. 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, chain control, and more.

Power outages

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.

Emergency alerts

Californians are reminded to dial 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 to get help or ask questions. For critical emergencies, 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 county officials.

The public can also view real-time information on anticipated river floodings here.

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.