Gavin Newsom declares state of emergency for flooding, winter storm


Michael Steinberg

A CHP car stopped for traffic control at Fawndale Road and I5 in Redding, CA. Photo taken March 9, courtesy of Michael Steinberg.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency for a mid-March winter storm. The announcement was made March 8, and affects 21 different counties throughout the state, including those in the Bay Area, Central Valley and North Coast. 

This announcement is reminiscent of the state of emergency that Newsom declared on March 1, in regard to providing relief efforts for 13 counties affected by winter storms earlier this month. This announcement applied largely to counties in Southern California and in the Sierra Nevada region. 

Flood watches and winter storm warnings, as well as wind advisories, have been issued in numerous counties. While dependent on location, most warnings go into effect March 9 and are in place until the evening of March 10, however some may be in place up until March 12. 

These warnings are primarily attributable to two things. The warm precipitation, combined with what is perceived to be a record-setting snowpack for California, will combine to make what is quite literally “a perfect storm.” 

As reported by The Los Angeles Times, the storm is a “potentially significant and very likely warm atmospheric river event,” according to UCLA Climate Scientist Daniel Swain. 

Travel to mountain areas is advised against and those who do travel should exercise caution. In addition, it is recommended that driving on flooded roadways be avoided.

In an effort to prepare for the storm and potential flooding, the City of Chico issued a press release encouraging property owners to clear storm drains of debris. It also stated that sand is available at the Public Works Department, but asked those who need it to bring their own shovels and sandbags. 

According to the office of governor, “Cal OES has coordinated with the Department of Social Services to open six shelters in the counties of San Bernardino, Stanislaus, Madera, Butte and Nevada, and has facilitated food donations through the California Grocers Association to provide meal kits in San Bernardino County.”

The shelter for Butte county is the Magalia Community Church Center, which has acted as an emergency shelter since the Camp Fire of 2018.  Doreen Fogle, an organizer with the church, informed The Orion that on top of offering shelter, they are holding a drive-thru food pantry and have been working with snow plows to try and get to people that are snowed in.

For more information about the upcoming weather forecast, check out the National Weather Service’s website for your area. 

Noah Herbst can be reached at [email protected].