Santa Barbara County Issues Local Emergency Following Governor’s State Proclamation

California Governor Gavin Newsom (center) [courtesy photo]

Update by the County of Santa Barbara
February 5, 2024

On February 4, 2024, Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency due to the February 2024 storm which began on January 31, 2024. This powerful, slow moving, atmospheric river storm system struck California and Santa Barbara County, and impacts are expected to continue for several days.

The County Public Works Department is in the process of assessing damage to infrastructure countywide, with preliminary reports indicating flood control and roadway systems functioning as expected. Evacuation warnings and orders were issued prior to the February storm’s arrival and as of noon, today, February 5, all evacuation orders have been cancelled and residents have been allowed to return home.

The February 2024 Storm series posed serious risks of rock falls, flooding, landslides, debris flows, severe winds, and coastal flooding throughout the County. The highest risks were associated with watersheds below the Thomas, Cave and Alisal Fire burn areas, which include residences, agricultural and ranching land, recreational facilities, roads, and critical infrastructure.

Proclaiming a local state of emergency is an essential step for local governments dealing with significant incidents. It ensures that all county resources are available for the storm response efforts and supporting activities. In addition to the proclamation issued locally, Governor Gavin Newsom also proclaimed a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County and surrounding counties.

“Ensuring the safety of every resident and the many first responders involved in storm response is the County’s top priority,” said Mona Miyasato, County Executive Officer.

“It is critical that our teams are resourced to prevent damage to structures, infrastructure, and our agricultural resources.”

View full proclamation here.

Governor Newsom Proclaims State of Emergency in Southern California As Powerful Storm Makes Landfall

By the Office of the California Governor
February 4, 2024

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for eight counties in Southern California as a series of winter storms began impacting much of the state with high winds, damaging rain and heavy snowfall. The text of the proclamation can be found here.

The proclamation covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The emergency proclamation includes provisions authorizing a California National Guard response if tasked, facilitating unemployment benefits for impacted residents, and making it easier for out-of-state contractors and utilities to repair storm damage.

Earlier today, the Governor visited the State Operations Center near Sacramento for an update on the storm and the state’s response efforts.

California has mobilized a record 8,500 state-coordinated, prepositioned emergency response assets that are ready to respond to potential flooding, landslides, travel impacts and 911 calls.

“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.”- Governor Gavin Newsom

5 things you can do to stay safer:

  1. Stay connected. Dial 311 to get help or ask questions. If you have a critical emergency, call 911. Stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts including warnings and evacuation notices at
  2. Get your information from trusted sources. Check state and local government or emergency management websites and social media accounts for trusted information specific to your area. Local news outlets and meteorologists are also a good source of information. Be wary of posts from unknown sources on social platforms or from online ‘experts’ without credentials.
  3. Prepare for high winds. Before a high wind event: remove any dead trees or overhanging branches near structures, remove loose roofing material, bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies, secure outdoor objects that could blow away, shutter windows securely and brace outside doors. During a high wind event: take cover next to a building or under shelter, stay away from windows, stay clear of roadways and train tracks, avoid elevated areas such as roofs, watch for flying debris.
  4. Travel safely. Avoid non-essential travel during the peak of the storm expected Sunday and Monday. If you must drive, download the QuickMap app or visit QuickMap (  to learn up-to-the-minute information on road conditions, traffic, closures, and more. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  5. Be ready in case of power outages. Take inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Keep your devices charged. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs if the power goes out such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member.

Get more tips here.

Additional Resources

  • Storm Season Safety Guide: the state is sharing multilingual resources, deploying a network of community-based organizations through the Listos California campaign, and highlighting other work underway to protect at-risk communities this rainy season.
  • Prepare Yourself through Texts: Californians can sign up for a 5-lesson text message course through Listos California on what to do before, during and after floods, high winds, debris flows and other storm impacts. This course is available in English, Spanish, Hmong and Punjabi. Text “CAWINTER” to 20202 via SMS to sign up.
  • Visit National Weather Service for current weather patterns in your area.

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