With heavy rains and significant snow in the forecast for areas of Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday activated the State Operations Center to monitor storm conditions and coordinate any emergency assistance that might be necessary.
“I want to thank all our emergency responders for working diligently through trying weather conditions to keep our communities safe,” Newsom said in a statement.
He also urged Californians to avoid traveling in the mountains.
“I strongly encourage all Californians to avoid making the situation worse and refrain from traveling on mountain roads until conditions improve,” Newsom said.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has declared a state of emergency as roads around Tahoe, which straddles California and Nevada, have been intermittently closed or jammed with anxious motorists.
For his part, Newsom has called on cabinet members to coordinate with investor-owned utilities to restore power in that area and others around the state.
Since Christmas Eve, Caltrans has deployed 1,350 field staff working in 24-hour rotating shifts to keep roads open and assist impacted communities statewide, according to the governor’s statement.
Caltrans has also redirected all available crews, assisted with 600 snow plows and cleared hundreds of downed trees.
In addition, the California Highway Patrol has stepped in to assist stranded motorists, direct heavy traffic loads and provide food and water for those in need.