The Ukiah Daily Journal

Newsom declares state of emergency for 13 counties due to severe storms

- By Hanna Lykke

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, and 11 other counties, Wednesday evening as the region grapples with a spate of rare and severe winter storms.

In the declaratio­n, Newsom directed the Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES, to provide local government­s with additional assistance if necessary. He also activated the State Operations Center, which will “bring state support to county-led emergency response efforts and coordinate mutual aid from neighborin­g jurisdicti­ons, especially in San Bernardino County, ” a statement from the governor's office said.

The declaratio­n came the same day several California Republican­s requested such a declaratio­n.

Additional­ly, Newsom ordered the state Department of Transporta­tion to request federal assistance for road and highway repairs.

The California National Guard and Calfire resources were also activated.

“Significan­t numbers” of state personnel will be on the ground in San Bernardino County, where mountain communitie­s have been pummeled with severe snowfall, the statement read.

The state will coordinate with private contractor­s to clear roads and speed-up snow removal, the statement added. As of Wednesday, March 1, roads were still heavily impacted and Caltrans had to suspend its escorts on Highways 18 and 330 because even chained vehicles were getting stuck.

On Wednesday evening, Caltrans' snow removal efforts were still in effect, according to a tweet, which said it will “continue to remove large amounts of snow from our state highway system ….”

Prior to the official declaratio­n, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services said Monday it was operating alongside local officials and Caltrans in San Bernardino County.

These efforts included bringing in “additional snow plows and road crews, opening a shelter for residents unable to get home and coordinati­ng with law enforcemen­t to escort essential services providers, such as power companies, food and water deliveries, as well as, services providers for vulnerable population­s,” an update from the Cal OES website said.

Wednesday's emergency declaratio­n was also issued for Amador, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Sonoma and Tulare counties.

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