Don’t Be Iced Out When It Comes To Winter Storm Preparation

Weather forecasts indicate a wet initiation to 2017, a promising start for the new year considering the state is still in the midst of an ongoing historic drought. More precipitation is expected, and much needed. Rain and snow could impact travel in Northern and Southern California for New Year’s Eve on Saturday and possibly beyond.

Travel delays, slick roads, and chain controls are possible over the mountains, especially next week.

With arctic air likely to arrive in Northern California early next week, snow could drop to as low as 1000-2000 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Significant accumulations are likely above 4000 feet, and a hard freeze is likely next week as cold air remains in the wake of the system.

Southern California is also expected to have a wet weekend, with snow through the mountain passes affecting travel.

To deal with freezing temperatures and potential winter-storm inconveniences, here are some easy ways to prepare and tips to keep in mind before the next significant storm:

  • Prepare an emergency kit with a flashlight, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, warm clothing, first aid kit and other items you might need for several days.
  • Monitor local news and weather stations for updates.
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings from authorities.
  • If you don’t have to go out, stay home.
  • Use extreme caution around downed trees and slow down for debris in the street.
  • Treat all non-working traffic signal lights at intersections as stop signs.
  • Avoid all downed power lines and objects touching them. Report downed lines to your local authorities.
  • Keep pets inside and ensure they have shelter from the elements.

To alleviate winter storm concerns, Cal OES has created a one-stop informational page with additional insight on how to be prepared for specific events, such as: snow and ice, flooding and rain, debris flow, extreme cold, and wind.

Visit the Winter Storm Preparedness page for more in-depth tips and information.


Additional resources



Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires, and statewide wildfire siege in 2018 . Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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