Gov. Gavin Newsom declares state of emergency for LA, San Bernardino counties due to severe winter storms

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 ….”

#Caltrans8 will continue to remove large amounts of snow from our state highway system with the goal to open the highway for all who wish to visit the beautiful mountain communities. @CA_Trans_Agency @CAgovernor @Cal_OES @CaltransHQ

— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) March 2, 2023

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.

Cal OES is coordinating closely with @SBCounty to provide assistance to the communities impacted by ongoing winter storms. Including working with @CaltransHQ for snow removal, opening shelters & providing resources to vulnerable populations.

Read more:

— California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (@Cal_OES) February 28, 2023

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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