Winter Weather Resources

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Yolo County's Office of Emergency Services is actively coordinating with public works crews and public safety personnel in all our communities to monitor our waterways and drainage systems, and to prepare for issues as they may arise. As with all rainy seasons, there continues to be some localized flooding and road closures which are mapped and provided on www.yolocounty.org.

Also linked on the County's website is access to opt-in to the emergency alert and warning system: www.Yolo-Alert.org. This notification system enables officials to provide essential information quickly when there is a threat to the health and safety of residents. It is already set up to dial AT&T and Verizon landlines. We encourage you, however, to opt-in to add personal cell and e-mail information to ensure you receive emergency notifications in a timely manner.

At this time, our public works and levee systems are operating as they should, but we do encourage residents to remain on high alert and be prepared for sustained power outages, localized flooding and even evacuations. Cache Creek, one significant water way in Yolo County, is currently experiencing normal conditions. To monitor Cache Creek and other water ways, link here. For preparedness resources, visit: www.ready.gov.

 

Winter Weather Preparedness

Severe Cold
Flash Flooding
Power Outages
Additional Resources

 Take a Tour of the 2017 Storm

Winter is here!!  Have you prepared?

As the seasons change, so does our exposure to different risks. The winter season in California is our rainy season which means the potential for flooding and freezing temperatures. The County of Yolo wants you to be prepared for the winter so we put together a list of some items to have in your disaster preparedness kit:

  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Non-Perishable Food
  • Water
  • Local Maps

The items above are a good start for disaster kits. Residents in flood prone areas should also remember to clean their storm drains, clean leaves as they fall, and have items like shovels, boots, raincoats and sandbags on hand. The Yolo County Office of Emergency Services (OES) strives to provide updated information so that you can have a better understanding of how the weather may impact your fall-time activities.  Check back often for updated information!  Meanwhile, link here for more preparedness tips

Severe Cold

With the winter season comes the chance for significantly lower temperatures. Under the right conditions, wind can push temperatures below freezing. Frostbite can occur in as little as 5 minutes when skin is exposed to the elements. The table below depicts how the wind can make the temperature feel even lower. Residents should take precautions and wear a coat, hat and gloves when the temperature begins to fall. Places such as libraries, churches, malls and other public place can often provide a refuge when the temperatures fall below freezing. Severe conditions are when the temperature stays below freezing (32°F) overnight for three days consecutively. When those conditions are met, the County will take steps to establish warming centers to assist those exposed to the elements. 

NWS Wind Chill

At times, Yolo County can experience cold weather with temperatures dipping into the freezing range. Actions that residents can take to protect against severe cold and freezing temperatures include: 

Preparing Your Home and Family

  • Review and update your family emergency plan.
  • Replenish your emergency supply kits including battery-operated radio and flashlights.
  • Have extra blankets on hand.
  • Have a plan for meeting the needs of infants, children, seniors and those with disabilities.
  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
  • Move family pets indoors or to an enclosure out of the elements. Likewise protect livestock or other large animals from the cold weather.
  • Move plants indoors or cover with blankets or plastic to prevent freezing.
  • Maintain a sufficient supply of heating fuel.
  • Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
  • Do NOT bring heating devices into the home that are intended for outdoor use, such as barbecues and other cooking equipment or other fuel burning devices. These items can produce deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts). 
    Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

Dressing for the Weather

  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Recognizing Symptoms of Exposure

  • Confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and shivering are signs of hypothermia. Possibly: if you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy skin are symptoms of frostbite. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
  • In the case of overexposure to freezing temperatures, remove wet clothing and immediately warm the body with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid caffeine or alcohol.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) says older adults lose body heat faster than when they were young. For more tips on winter weather preparedness for older adults, check out Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults from the NIA.

More information on severe cold can be found in our Severe Weather Hazard Annex v1.0 and within the Emergency Preparedness Resources.

Flash Flooding

With increased amounts of precipitation and our persisting drought, flooding can occur rapidly and become life threatening in a short amount of time (link here for flood preparedness and winter weather driving tips). This is known as a flash flood. Flash floods generally develop within 6 hours of the immediate cause. Causes of flash flooding include heavy rain, debris jams and levee or dam failure. These floods exhibit a rapid rise of water over low-lying areas. In some cases, flooding may even occur well away from where heavy rain initially fell.

There are many reasons that flash floods occur, but one of the most common is the result of copious amounts of rainfall from thunderstorms that cause flash flooding. This also occurs when slow-moving or multiple thunderstorms move over the same area. Sudden downpours can rapidly change the water levels in a stream or creek and turn small waterways into violent, raging rivers.

Click here to find out more...

Burns scars are another source of concern when we are facing heavy rainfall. When a wildfire burns away the vegetation on a hillside the ground becomes exposed. Grass and trees act a as natural absorbent of rainfall slowing the amount of water that the ground has to soak at one time. The Rocky, Wragg, Monticello, Jerusalem, Valley, and Elk fires that impacted us and our neighbors recently have left significant burn scars which pose an additional risk due to debris flowing from the affected areas. As a result the National Weather Service will be issuing flash flood watches when significant rain may impact those areas. A map of the burn scars can be found below.

Burn Scars

 

Did you recently see a Flash Flood Warning and wonder what exactly the warning was for?  View the map below and click on a shaded area to see more information about the warning for the area.  These alerts are issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

Power Outages 

Another common winter weather occurrence are power outages.  Link here for preparedness tips and where to get more information about power outages in your area.

Additional Resources

CalTrans Road Closures

County Road Closures 

CHP Winter Driving Tips

Floodsmart.gov

National Weather Service Sacramento

Power Outages

Ready.gov

River Stage Map

Storm Ready California

Have more questions about winter weather in Yolo County?  E-mail oes@yolocounty.org and we'll attempt to find the information you are seeking to post on this site.