California Declares State of Emergency in Response to Severe Winter Storms

On Wednesday night, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in response to the severe winter storms that have battered Southern California.[0] The declaration covers 13 counties, including San Bernardino, Amador, Kern, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Sonoma and Tulare.[1]

The declaration allows the state to free up resources to support disaster response and relief, while also activating the California National Guard to be ready to support operations. The state is also contracting with private companies to accelerate snow removal and clear roadways in efforts to restore power.[2]

San Bernardino County officials closed the San Bernardino National Forest for public safety reasons and it will remain closed until March 16.[3] The closure is necessary to protect public safety in light of severe winter storms that have impacted the area this week.[4]

San Bernardino County deputies and firefighters have loaded ready-to-eat meals onto sheriff’s helicopters to be delivered to those in the mountain communities.[5] Caltrans crews are working around the clock to clear the roads and while the snow has subsided, officials are turning their attention to reaching trapped citizens and also flood control as snow begins to melt and assessing for the risk for avalanche.[6]

Roads and highways connecting to the San Joaquin Valley such as Interstate 5 and Highway 58 were closed much of Wednesday due to snow in higher elevations.[7] Similarly, popular Yosemite National Park has been closed indefinitely after record-breaking snowfall last week.[8]

The Sheriff’s Department has urged people to not visit the local mountains for fun this weekend and instead, those in need of help can visit Redlands East Valley High School, located at 31000 E. Colton Ave. in Redlands. The shelter will operate every day from Tuesday, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m[9] The call center will be open Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm.[9] The phone number is 909-387[10]

The county has asked for federal help in clearing and repairing highways and Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe has called the emergency declaration an “important step” in securing state and federal assistance to clear out the snow from mountain highways, residential streets and other critical repairs and infrastructure work.[9]

0. “‘Reconsider Your Plans': Emergency Closure Ordered for San Bernardino National Forest” NBC Southern California, 4 Mar. 2023,

1. “California declares emergency in counties buried by snow as latest storm moves east” ABC News, 2 Mar. 2023,

2. “What the State of Emergency means for Kern County” Bakersfield Now, 3 Mar. 2023,

3. “‘Help us!!': Crews work to get supplies to stranded residents after severe snowstorms” ABC News, 4 Mar. 2023,

4. “San Bernardino National Forest Temporarily Closing for Public Safety”, 3 Mar. 2023,

5. “California snow: Newsom declares state of emergency for 13 counties, including LA and San Bernardino” FOX 11 Los Angeles, 2 Mar. 2023,

6. “Desperate mountain residents trapped by snow beg for help; ‘We are coming,' sheriff says” Yahoo Life, 2 Mar. 2023,

7. “Gavin Newsom declares emergency in Madera, Mariposa and other counties hit by snowstorms” Fresno Bee, 2 Mar. 2023,

8. “California winter storms bring heavy snow; Newsom declares state of emergency in 13 counties” CNBC, 2 Mar. 2023,

9. “San Bernardino County declares state of emergency as SoCal storm dumps more snow on mountain communities” KABC-TV, 28 Feb. 2023,

10. “San Bernardino County declares emergency over winter storm” KTLA Los Angeles, 28 Feb. 2023,

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