Gov. Newsom Declares Emergency in Response to Devastating Winter Storms in Southern California

In response to the devastating winter storms that have battered Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency late Wednesday night, making state agencies and aid available, asking for federal help in clearing and repairing highways, and authorizing the California National Guard to mobilize for disaster response if needed.[0] The emergency declaration covers San Luis Obispo, Amador, Kern, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Sonoma and Tulare counties.[1]

In San Bernardino County, the San Bernardino National Forest announced a temporarily closure of all forest lands due to the extreme weather from Friday at 11:59 p.m. to Mar. 16 at 11:59 p.m., and the City of Big Bear Lake has closed all mountain highways (State Routes 38, 330, and 18) to and from Big Bear.[2] Stranded Lake Arrowhead residents have taken to social media to plead for help from the state, with Michelle Calkins saying people in her community and Running Springs and Crestline “are screaming and begging for help” from officials.[3]

The state is working with Caltrans and San Bernardino County to bring in additional snow plows and road crews, and personnel from CAL FIRE and the California National Guard are readied to support operations.[4] Private companies have also been contracted to speed up snow removal and clear roadways, as well as coordinate with investor-owned utilities to rapidly restore power.[4]

The American Red Cross and San Bernardino County have opened an emergency shelter and resource center for those who are stranded at East Valley High School in Redlands at 31000 E. Colton Ave.[5] The shelter will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m[6] The California National Guard was set to arrive in the San Bernardino Mountains on Thursday afternoon to help those who are trapped in their homes due to the heavy snow.[7]

The “Help us!!” sign written in the snow near Lake Gregory in Crestline is a reminder of the plight of many mountain communities.[2] Snowplows are working their way through the main highways before they turn their attention to residential and back country roads, but it could take more than a week to reach some areas walled off by snow.[8]

Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 261.[9]

0. “Rescue efforts underway for snowed-in California residents trapped in their homes” CBS News, 3 Mar. 2023,

1. “Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency in SLO County due to winter storms” San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2 Mar. 2023,

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

3. “‘We need help': Stranded Lake Arrowhead residents plead for assistance amid food and medication shortages” FOX 11 Los Angeles, 3 Mar. 2023,

4. “Help arrives for residents of snow-filled San Bernardino Mountains”, 3 Mar. 2023,

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

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

7. “California declares state of emergency in 13 counties after brutal winter storm traps residents” CNN, 2 Mar. 2023,

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

9. “California National Forest closing temporarily due to historic winter storm” KTLA Los Angeles, 3 Mar. 2023,

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