Cal OES Mounted All-In Storm Response in Southern California


As a series of storms struck Southern California, the state mounted an all-in mission to support communities and keep them safe.

Starting in late January, Governor Gavin Newsom directed an all-of-government response to storms that have impacted nearly all of California, including more than 8,500 boots on the ground to support communities with roadways, flood operations, rescue teams, sheltering, and more.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) led the effort with other state agencies on the historical response. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) responded to calls of service and conducted rescues. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) cleared roads and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) ensured road safety. The California Military Department (Cal Guard) provided equipment and high-water vehicles during rescue missions and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) activated their flood operation center to monitor local waterways.

Since New Year’s Day, the state has experienced hurricane force winds, beach erosion, flooding, mud and debris flows, landslides, road closures, and structural damage, specifically due to weather impacts from El Nino that drove more southernly storms. Los Angeles and San Diego counties – as well as the Central Coast – experienced some of the most significant impacts of the storms.

The state has been in near constant coordination with local responders statewide over the past few weeks but has been in particularly close partnership with the City and County of Los Angeles, which experienced the 4th wettest February in Downtown Los Angeles since records began in 1877.

Further south, California’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support individuals and families impacted by the late January storms in San Diego was approved, unlocking federal funding to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the San Diego County areas affected by the storm.

During the nearly two months of activation and response in Southern California, Cal OES provided thousands of sheltering supplies and services, worked with local partners to open warming centers, positioned millions of sandbags, and prepositioned a historic number of fire and rescue personnel. These state operations complemented the work of local governments conducting their own rescues.

State staff also physically co-located in local emergency operations centers to assist in expediting any targeted aid requests.

Now that the storms have moved out of the area, Cal OES continues to assess damage and work with communities to meet their recovery needs.