Officials in San Bernardino County have declared a state of emergency due to the recent spate of cold weather that has hit Southern California. The emergency declaration was issued late Monday after many people in the county’s mountain regions spent the weekend unable to leave their homes because of several feet of snow.
The announcement is timed with the approach of another storm system that is expected to bring further snow to California’s higher elevations. The emergency declaration has been deemed an “important step” in securing state and federal assistance to clear the snow from mountain highways, residential streets, and other critical repairs and infrastructure work by Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe, whose district includes many of the affected communities.
“Our team of state and local partners will continue working round-the-clock on a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to bring relief and resources to our residents, while also prioritizing the safety of all,” Rowe said.
On Monday, hundreds of drivers were stuck in the snow on roadways that traverse the mountainous regions of San Bernardino County. A scientific camp in Crestline was also abandoned for nearly a week, trapping dozens of elementary school students there. A convoy of buses carrying the stranded students was eventually evacuated with the help of the California Highway Patrol.
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Officials from the county reported that personnel was working around the clock to remove parts of the impacted streets, and while some progress had been made in residential areas, there was no word on when the highways would be restored to normal traffic. As of right now, heavy machinery has been brought in to assist in snow removal, but there are limitations to how much can be moved.
Firefighters in San Bernardino County, California, are already making use of “specialized snow trucks” to transport victims to hospitals. Until the necessary repairs have been made, local authorities are requesting that locals stay off these hazardous roadways. After the main thoroughfares have been made passable, attention will shift to the side streets.
Many municipal police departments have had to shift manpower to rescue passengers who became lost on leisurely excursions. Redlands’ East Valley High School is hosting an American Red Cross shelter for mountain people who have been displaced from their houses at 31000 E. Colton Ave. On Monday, the shelter will be open until 8 p.m., and for the next few days, it will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.