California Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency in 20 counties after series of winter storms
On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency through 20 counties in the state.
Winter storms have rolled through the area with many places seeing record snow and rainfall that have cut power, closed down major roads and highways, and caused debris flows.
Newsom’s proclamation noted that Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Luis, Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Sierra, and Yuba are all currently under a state of emergency.
The emergency proclamation is supporting response and recovery initiatives following the storms, which include expanding access to state resources. That access expansion is afforded under California’s Disaster Assistance Act.
The act directs the California Department of Transportation to request help through the Federal Highway administration’s Emergency Relief Program specifically for highway repairs or reconstruction. It also relaxes guidelines to unemployment benefits for those residents who lose their jobs due to the storms.
The slow-moving storm caused several road and highway closures in Los Angeles and resulted in evacuations near wildfire burn scars in the area. Travelers in downtown L.A.’s Union Station were forced to evacuate frantically in the morning when several inches of water began filling one hallway.
At least 50 people were rescued by firefighters at the Leo Carrillo State Park campground in malibu due to the rainfall that resulted in a torrent of muddy water through the area. Quickly accumulating snow and ice also forced officials to close part of the Grapevine going both ways of the 5 Freeway for a few hours.
Record-breaking snowfall in the Sierra Nevada brought those communities to a standstill due to power outages for tens of thousands of residents. Officials have encouraged those living in the area as well as visitors to stay off mountain roads until conditions improve.