Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency throughout California Wednesday in advance of a major winter storm expected to dump potentially damaging amounts of rain.
According to the governor’s office, the declaration will bolster emergency response efforts while authorizing the mobilization of the California National Guard for disaster response. It also directed Caltrans to request immediate assistance from the Federal Highway Administration to expedite road repairs due to the storms.
“This state of emergency will allow the state to respond quickly as the storm develops and support local officials in their ongoing response,” Newsom said in a statement.
Showers were expected to continue sporadically into Thursday in the San Diego area followed by much heavier downpours, according to the National Weather Service.
Strong winds are expected to accompany the rain, with a wind advisory in effect from 8 p.m. Wednesday through 4 p.m. Thursday in the San Diego County mountains, and from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday for coastal and valley areas.
Mountain areas are expected to see winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts of up to 60 mph. Winds in other areas will likely range from 15 to 25 mph, gusting up to 40 mph, forecasters said.
State fire and rescue personnel have been pre-positioned across the state to quickly respond to emergencies such as mud and debris flows, flooding and landslides.
The state Health and Human Services Agency was also working with local agencies to assist with efforts to notify vulnerable populations — such as the homeless and the disabled — about the pending storm and provide services such as temporary shelter.
State officials urged residents to avoid non-essential travel during the storm and to be prepared for possible power outages by having flashlights and batteries ready. Residents were also urged to have enough non-perishable food available to last for three days if needed in the event of a major emergency.
City News Service contributed to this article.