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San Bernardino County declares state of emergency, anticipating 'extreme' rain and snow

Flood watch in effect until Tuesday afternoon

National Weather Service, San Diego rainfall totals expected Sunday to Tuesday.

REDLANDS, Calif. – San Bernardino County declared a state of emergency Sunday in anticipation of a powerful storm that forecasters say will bring 'extreme' rain and snow expected today through Wednesday.

“This declaration puts the state and federal government on notice that our residents will need their help,” said San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe. “The County is taking all available steps to keep our residents safe and we are making preparations to meet their needs during and after the storms."

Earlier in the day, Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency in Southern California. The proclamation covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. 

"California: this is a serious storm with dangerous and potentially life-threatening impacts. Please pay attention to any emergency orders or alerts from local officials. California is ready with a record number of emergency assets on the ground to respond to the impacts of this storm," Newsom said in a statement Sunday.

According to the NWS, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding for the San Bernardino valley and coastal slopes of the San Bernardino mountains is possible tonight through Tuesday with showers chances lasting through Friday.

Officials are urging everyone to take precautions and avoid unnecessary travel. Forecasters predict small stream and urban flooding to occur and rivers are expected to rise.

In the local forecast: A flood watch remains in effect for San Bernardino County until Tuesday afternoon. Forecasts from the National Weather Service San Diego predict rainfall between 4-5 inches from Monday to Tuesday night near Redlands.

Ways to prepare: The city's Emergency Operations Division is reminding residents to be aware of possible flooding. The city has a limited number of sandbags available to residents and local businesses at no cost.

  • Each household or business within city limits is eligible to receive up to 10 empty sandbags from local fire stations.
  • Officials urge residents not to rely soly on the city's supply. If there is substantial rainfall, additional sandbags can be found at home improvement stores.
  • Sand and shovels are available at the City Yard at 1270 W. Park Ave. ID is required to fill bags.

While the city works to mitigate flooding through storm drain system maintenance and tree trimming, significant rainfall can overwhelm the city's flood control system. Residents should watch for localized flooding on city streets and in the Zanja and San Timoteo Canyon areas.

"Never drive through flooded roadways. If you come to an area that is covered with flood water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. Road beds may be washed out under flood waters," Redlands Emergency Operations Division warned in a statement released Monday.

It does not take much to lose control on a flooded roadway, according to the National Weather Service's Turn Around, Don't Drown campaign. Just six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing a loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float most vehicles off the roadway. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pick-ups.

Residents are also encouraged to take precautions to protect private property, including:

  • Check rain gutters and drains to make sure they are clear of debris
  • Make sure all irrigation systems are turned off. City of Redlands irrigation restrictions prohibit watering within 48 hours of rainfall.
  • Keep an eye out for any water or natural gas leaks caused by shifting soils if you have noticed land movement near your house.
  • If you need to drive during the storm, be careful. Most weather-related car accidents happen on wet pavement and during rainfall.
  • Notify authorities of any fallen wires, major landslides, toppled trees, or significant flooding.

Non-emergency flood-related issues should be reported to the Facilities and Community Services Department at (909) 798-7655. For any emergency situation call 911.

Additional information is available at the city's Emergency Management page to help residents prepare for heavy rain and potential flood conditions.

This is a developing story. This story was updated with more details about the state of emergency proclamation.

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