California is subject to all types of weather patterns from blizzards to gale force winds. The varying weather events require vigilant preparedness to ensure the protection of life, property, and the states critical infrastructure. The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) strives to ensure the residents and businesses of California have the most pertinent and up to date preparedness information.
ARkStorm: California's Other "Big One"
For emergency planning purposes, scientists unveiled a hypothetical California scenario that describes a storm that could produce up to 10 feet of rain, cause extensive flooding (in many cases overwhelming the state’s flood-protection system) and result in more than $300 billion in damage. Cal EMA, the USGS, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency convened the two-day ARkStorm Summit to engage stakeholders from across California to take action as a result of the scenario's findings, which were developed over the last two years by more than 100 scientists and experts. The complete scenario is available at this USGS link ARkstorm
Winter Storm Preparedness Tips
Cal EMA is encouraging all Californians to act on the following tips in preparation for the coming storms:
- Collect important documents (i.e., insurance policies, vital records) that you should take with you if you need to evacuate.
- Have an easy to carry emergency supply kit on hand with at least – food, water, medications, flashlight, battery-powered radio, rain gear, and a first aid kit.
- Keep your car fueled in case power is cutoff to local gas stations.
- Identify the safe routes from your home or office to high ground.
- Establish an out-of-state “family contact” so that friends and relatives will know who to call to get information about where you are.
- Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and other materials handy for waterproofing.
- If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately. If you’re stranded, move to your roof so rescuers can see you.
- Avoid flooded roadways and waterways. Just six inches of water can sweep you away.
- If your car stalls in water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
Answers to many of your questions are available at the following links?
Weather watch or warning, what is the difference and what should I know?
What should we know if we live near a recently burned area?
What steps are important in preparing my vehicle for winter?
Are there any preparedness tips for my mobile devices like cell phones?
Is there emergency preparedness information for my animals during the winter?
During the most recent batch of storms in January 2010, a number of tornados were spun off some of the powerful thunderstorms to strike across California. The tornado is unusual to California and below are some initials steps as recommended by the National Weather Service along with additional links to tornado information.
During a tornado watch
•Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for further weather information.
•Watch the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.
A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-"Tornado Preparedness"
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - "Tornado Information" (pdf download)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "Tornado"
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "Tornados-Being Prepared"
Storm information is available at:
National Weather Service Western Regional Forecast Center
California Department of Water Resources (DWR) - "California Data Exchange Center" for information on weather, rivers, reservoirs, and snow.
FEMA Thunderstorm and Lightning Information
Centers for Disease Control Winter Weather
FEMA Winter Storms and Extreme Cold Information