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Statewide Briefing Addresses Storm Season Safety in California


Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media collaborated with Listos California at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to organize an essential statewide ethnic media briefing focusing on Storm Season Safety.

California confronted a tumultuous 2022-23 with a series of over a dozen atmospheric rivers, leaving no community untouched. Looking ahead, the forecast for the 2023-24 rainy season predicts a 75% to 85% likelihood of a robust El Niño event, signaling potential challenges.

The proactive dissemination of information among vulnerable communities stands as an imperative prerogative. This comprehensive briefing sought not only to raise awareness concerning the imminent hazards of the Storm Season but also to equip California’s most susceptible groups with crucial safety tips and pertinent information.

Diana Crofts-Pelayo, Assistant Director of Crisis Communication & Public Affairs at Cal OES, underscored proactive measures for individuals and families in the face of heavy rainstorms or natural disasters.

“Visiting ListosCalifornia.org/alerts is key to accessing local emergency alerts tailored to your city, county, or region. In the event of flooding, significant snowfall, or high winds, your local government will issue timely notifications via text or calls,” explained Crofts-Pelayo.

Additionally, Crofts-Pelayo emphasized the paramount importance for Californians to develop a comprehensive family emergency plan, ensuring preparedness and a clear evacuation strategy in case of immediate evacuation.

Meteorologist Bianca Feldkircher, hailing from the National Weather Service’s Western Region Headquarters, delved into the multifaceted effects of El Niño on weather patterns and ecosystems.

El Niño, a climatic phenomenon, exerts a profound influence on marine life along the Pacific coast. Its impact alters the dynamics of nutrient-rich waters and significantly affects the fish population, thereby sending ripples through the entire ecosystem.

“Anticipating the precise when and where of El Niño’s impact remains challenging. However, the fascinating aspect lies in its predictability a year or more in advance, offering a high degree of confidence in forecasting potential impacts six months ahead,” elucidated Feldkircher.

Jazmin Ortega, Deputy Press Secretary at the California Department of Insurance, stressed the criticality of accessing FEMA’s national flood insurance program to mitigate potential damages and losses due to natural disasters.

Uncertainty regarding homeowners’ insurance coverage necessitates a thorough review of policies, proactive communication with agents, or direct engagement with the Department of Insurance. Furthermore, businesses grappling with the aftermath of natural calamities can seek guidance on business interruption and commercial coverage policies for support and resolution.

Flood insurance, significantly distinct from homeowners’ and renters’ insurance, typically excludes coverage for flood-related perils like landslides or mudflows. However, an exception may apply concerning coverage for debris flow post-wildfires, contingent upon establishing the wildfire as the “efficient proximate cause.”

This comprehensive briefing aimed to empower Californians with the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate and mitigate the potential challenges posed by the Storm Season and natural calamities, underscoring the significance of proactive preparedness and collaborative efforts in ensuring community resilience and safety.

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