Storm Season Safety: Before a Snow Storm



The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) works with local and state authorities to provide resources for Californians to prepare for a storm.

If you live in a county that is annually impacted by snowfall, as happened at the beginning of 2023, remember the following tips and keep in mind the following information:


According to the Nacional Weather Service, a much more active weather pattern returns to many areas of California Sunday, December 17, and continues through at least late next week as a persistent atmospheric river event develops.

Several rounds of rain, mountain snow, gusty winds, and scattered thunderstorms are likely during this time. The exact details remain uncertain, but snow levels look to start around 7,500-9,000 feet early and then gradually fall through midweek.

It is important to consider that a snow storm 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

 Preparedness Tips

Stay safe on the roads:

  • Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency preparedness kit with you.
  • Be weather wise, know the weather forecast during your travel.
  • Learn the weather/climate risks risk for the area you are travel to and know what to do before, during and after such events.
  • Stay off the road during and after a winter storm.
  • During the winter keep the proper emergency winter road tools in the truck of your automobile

Prepare Your Car for Emergencies

Have a mechanic check the following on your car before an emergency:

  • Antifreeze levels
  • Battery and ignition system
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel and air filters
  • Heater and defroster
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights
  • Oil
  • Thermostat
  • Windshield wiper equipment and washer fluid level


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.