By Shirin Rajaee

MATHER (CBS13) —The California Office of Emergency Services is on a heightened state of alert as the biggest storm of the season makes it’s way to Northern California.

With flood-prone areas and burn scars top of mind, the office of emergency services is monitoring weather conditions around the clock.

“Knowing that the rain is coming, we have teams, personnel, and equipment ready to go,” said spokesperson Shawn Boyd.

Last month heavy rains devastated Santa Barbara County with flash floods and mudslides that turned deadly.

And now as a new system rolls in, evacuation warnings are going out.

“We want to make sure what happened in January doesn’t happen again,” said Boyd.

OES still has crews down south, as part of the recovery effort.

“We want to make sure that if we need to get people evacuated, that we’re ahead of the weather,” he said.

Meanwhile, In Northern California, certain areas are getting a lot of attention.

“We’re watching Napa County. Sonoma, and Santa Rosa, those are our biggest concerns up north,” said Boyd.

Eyes are on the areas scorched from last October’s devastating wildfires, and the burn scars that are at high risk for flooding.

“Our resources are where they need to be should there be a problem,” he said.

The Office of Emergency Services says this latest winter storm is long overdue and a sharp difference from what we saw last year.

Areas hit hard by last winter’s brutal storms are being closely monitored including Placer County and Butte County where we had the Oroville Spillway situation and threat of flooding downstream. Those repairs are ongoing.

“We want to make sure whatever work is being done isn’t compromised by the incoming storms, so we’re definitely keeping an eye on that,” he said.

As significant rain and as much as seven feet of snow and whiteout conditions are expected OES hopes everyone whose traveling in the Sierra, takes the warnings seriously

“We want to make sure everyone is prepared, take food and water for three days, be ready for anything, in case you get stuck,” said Boyd.

Boyd says they have not activated their state operation center and he’s hoping it won’t be necessary. But if there is a big incident, they are ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice.


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