SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Schwarzenegger today directed his departments and agencies to take actions to prepare and respond to the needs of Californians during an unusually strong storm that will result in many parts of the state experiencing triple the amount of a typical October rain in one day. The storm is likely to reach its peak intensity in Northern California this afternoon and move towards Southern California tonight.
The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) has activated the State Operations Center at its Headquarters in Northern California and Regional Emergency Operations Centers in Los Alamitos, Oakland and Mather this morning in preparation for the heavy rain, high winds and debris flows predicted to occur in many areas of the state over the next two days.
“My team continues to monitor the statewide situation and stands ready to assist local response efforts through the deployment of local resources from outside the affected areas using our state’s mutual aid system,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Everyone in the areas impacted by this storm must continue to monitor their local radio and television stations for the latest weather information and follow all instructions. Together, we’ll prepare for and remain safe through this large storm.”
In addition to activating emergency operations centers, Cal EMA continues to conduct coordination calls with the National Weather Service, state agencies and county emergency managers to maintain situation awareness and assess the need for support from state agencies. CAL FIRE has deployed two hand crews to Monterey County to assist with the clearance of debris from flood control channels below the Gloria fire burn area and the Department of Water Resources has activated its Flood Operations Center and deployed flood-fighting staff to Shasta, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties, and Big Sur and Southern California to help with any incidents. Responders have begun prepositioning sandbags in strategic locations and vulnerable Delta island levees are being patrolled by structure monitoring experts. In addition, the California National Guard is standing by for deployment if needed.
Cal EMA is encouraging people living in the burn areas caused by fires that have occurred during the past two years to check their property for signs that a landslide or debris flow may occur, and work with local emergency officials to identify appropriate evacuation routes and services available.
Caltrans crews are clearing drains and debris and posting warning signs where possible. Motorists are being strongly cautioned to delay trips when possible and drive very carefully if they are on the road as crews may not have reached a particular area yet. Statewide road information is available at 1-800-427-7623. Current traffic conditions including incident information, traffic speeds and driving times may also be found at www.511.org or by calling 511.
Additional information on preparedness for storms is available on the Cal EMA home page at www.calema.ca.gov.