Lower Elevation Snow Return to California
February 10, 2024 - As California continues to recover from ongoing weather impacts from recent storms, there’s a possibility of ongoing cold weather impacts in mountain communities. According to the National Weather Service, the state will see lower snow levels generally around 4,000-5,000 feet.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) works with state partners like the California Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Social Services and others to ensure local governments have the resources they need to keep roads open and support vulnerable communities.
If you live in a county that is annually impacted by snowfall, remember the following tips and make sure to check road conditions and the forecast before you travel. Also:
- Always have a fully charged cellphone and carry a portable recharger, if possible.
- Wear several layers of loose clothing.
- Move into warm locations during work breaks and try to limit the amount of time outside.
- Pay attention to local weather forecasts and follow advice from locals.
With the arrival of winter weather, Cal OES would like to remind drivers to make sure they’re prepared to travel safely in changing conditions.
To plan your route, you can use the CalTrans QuickMap tool. This is the only reliable and official website that provides real time traffic information, including closures, active chain control requirements and incident reports.
Also, download the free QuickMap mobile app to have road conditions in the palm of their hands.
- Ask for Help to clear ice and snow from your house and keep walkways and steps clear of snow and ice.
- Make sure there is enough lighting outdoors, especially near walkways and stairs.
- Have the contact information of a family member or friend who can regularly check in on you.
- If you use walking aids such as a cane, walker, or a wheelchair, dry the wheels or tips of each before entering your home.
Car Safety Tips
- Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages. A full tank will also keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Install good winter tires and make sure they have enough tread, or any chains or studs required in your local area.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control or possibly stall. A foot of water will float many cars.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock. Stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- If it becomes hard to control the car, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
- If the emergency could affect the stability of the roadway avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs, and other hazards.
Emergency Kit for the Car
In case you are stranded, keep an emergency supply kit in your car with these automobile extras:
- Jumper cables
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Ice scraper
- Car cell phone charger
- Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction)
Prepare Your Car for Emergencies
Have a mechanic check the following on your car before an emergency:
- Antifreeze levels
- Battery and ignition system
- Exhaust system
- Fuel and air filters
- Heater and defroster
- Lights and flashing hazard lights
- Windshield wiper equipment and washer fluid level
- Do not use generators indoors or in confined areas. Keep them outside away from buildings and anything flammable.
- Place generators at least 20 feet away from your home
- Check with neighbors and family to ensure they are aware of the risk of operating generators.
- Before refueling generators, turn them off and let them cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Never power the house wiring by plugging the generator into the wall outlet; instead use a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord to plug appliances into generators.
- Do not use generators in rain or wet conditions.
- Place a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Make sure your home has operating fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
It is important to consider that a snowstorm can last a few hours, days or even weeks, and depending on its intensity, it can block roads and cause power outages.
That’s why we need to know how to identify the differences between a storm watch and storm warning.
Storm Watch: Indicates the risk of a hazardous winter weather event has increased at least in 50%.
Storm warning: As the event becomes imminent, a watch will be upgraded to a warning.
Remember to always listen to weather reports and pay attention to emergency warnings. Sign up for your community’s alert system on the website calaerts.org.
Source: Cal OES