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Storm Season Safety – Getting Ahead of Extreme Winter Weather

Storm Season Safety – Getting Ahead of Extreme Winter Weather

Magazine, Living Well

In response to the escalating threat of severe weather events in California, Listos California and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) collaborated with Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media to host a crucial news briefing addressing Storm Season Safety. This collaborative effort aimed to heighten awareness among vulnerable communities and equip them with vital information to navigate potential extreme weather events.

The briefing tackled the substantial challenges presented by the 2022-23 storm season, which witnessed numerous atmospheric rivers impacting communities statewide. With a forecasted 75% to 85% chance of a strong El Niño event in the 2023-24 rainy season, prioritizing the information and preparedness of vulnerable populations became imperative.

Speakers and Topics:

  • Representatives from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the National Weather Service (NWS), and other subject-matter experts were featured in the event. Regina Brown Wilson, executive director of California Black Media, moderated the discussion.
  • Diana Crofts-Pelayo, Assistant Director of Crisis Communication and Public Affairs at Cal OES, initiated the briefing by providing an overview of available resources, stressing the dynamic nature of weather-related challenges and the importance of preparedness for colder months.
  • Bianca Feldkircher, a meteorologist from the NWS, delved into the El Niño weather pattern phenomenon, delivering weather forecasts and a potential timeline of extreme weather events.
  • Jazmin Ortega, Deputy Press Secretary at the California Department of Insurance, emphasized the significance of having insurance before extreme weather events and shared insights on the role of insurance in mitigating risks.

Diana Will with Kellow spotlighted community-based organizations supporting Californians during extreme weather events, emphasizing collaborative efforts between government agencies and community partners.
Alf LaMont from Lamont Digital concluded the event by guiding attendees through the Cal OES Storm Season Safety Social Media Toolkit, providing valuable information for public dissemination.
Key Messages:
Throughout the briefing, speakers emphasized proactive measures such as signing up for local emergency alerts, creating family emergency plans, and checking on friends, neighbors, and loved ones during emergencies. The collaboration between government agencies, community organizations, and the media was highlighted as a key component in disseminating life-saving information.

As California braces for potential extreme weather events, the Listos California & Cal OES Ethnic Media Briefing served as a vital platform for disseminating crucial information to vulnerable communities. By fostering collaboration between government agencies, community organizations, and the media, the event aimed to empower Californians with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate and mitigate the impact of storm seasons.

Bianca Feldkircher, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service, provided valuable insights into the El Nino phenomenon and its potential impact on California’s winter weather. She explained the intricate science behind El Nino, detailing how changes in trade winds over the Equatorial Pacific influence weather patterns globally. Through engaging explanations, Bianca clarified the historical context of El Nino, its nomenclature, and the observable effects on precipitation and temperature patterns in the United States.

Key points from Bianca’s presentation included:
El Nino Basics: Bianca elucidated the fundamental principles of El Nino, emphasizing the periodic weakening and strengthening of trade winds that lead to variations in ocean temperatures and atmospheric conditions.
Historical Context: The presentation touched on the historical origins of the term “El Nino” as observed by Peruvian fishermen in the nineteenth century, associating the phenomenon with Christmas due to its peak occurrence around that time.
Global Weather Impact: Bianca described how El Nino influences the jet stream, altering storm tracks, moisture distribution, and temperature patterns worldwide. She highlighted the distinction between El Nino and an actual storm, emphasizing the former as a weather phenomenon.
Forecasting and Current Conditions: The meteorologist provided an overview of current conditions in the Equatorial Pacific, indicating the presence of El Nino conditions and a 35% chance of a historically strong El Nino event. However, she emphasized that a strong El Nino doesn’t guarantee uniform local impacts.
Winter Weather Outlook: The presentation concluded with a forecast for December, January, and February, predicting above-average precipitation in the southern U.S. and warmer temperatures in the western and northern U.S. Bianca underscored the importance of considering other climate factors for a more accurate forecast.
Following Bianca’s informative session, Yasmin Ortega, Deputy Press Secretary at the California Department of Insurance, addressed the audience. Yasmin highlighted the role of the department in assisting consumers with insurance claims during weather emergencies. She stressed the importance of reviewing insurance policies, making digital copies, and being prepared for potential emergencies.

Key points from Yasmin’s presentation included:
Insurance Assistance: Yasmin explained how the California Department of Insurance aids consumers during emergencies, extending grace periods, providing assistance in accessing insurance benefits, and helping with added living expenses during evacuations.

Claims Process: Yasmin advised consumers to familiarize themselves with their insurance policies, take inventory of their homes, and ensure digital access to policy documents. She emphasized the department’s commitment to assisting consumers with insurance-related questions.
Flood Insurance Awareness: Yasmin addressed the lack of flood coverage in standard homeowners’ policies and encouraged Californians to consider the National Flood Insurance Program through FEMA, especially since only a small percentage of residents currently have flood insurance.
Vehicle Insurance: Yasmin clarified that standard liability policies do not cover flood damage to vehicles. She recommended comprehensive coverage for protection against storm-related damages.
Privacy Assurance: Yasmin assured the immigrant community and the media covering immigrant communities that the California Department of Insurance respects privacy and does not require social security numbers or proof of citizenship when assisting.
In conclusion, they all  provided valuable information, combining scientific insights with practical advice on preparing for and navigating insurance matters during weather.

#StormSafety #ListosCalifornia #CalOES #EmergencyPreparedness #WeatherAwareness #ElNinoInsights #InsuranceTips #CommunityResilience #WeatherForecast #CaliforniaSafety #FloodInsurance #PublicSafety #DigitalResources #MediaBriefing #WinterWeather #ClimatePreparedness #StayInformed #CollaborationForSafety #CommunityEmpowerment #DisasterPrevention

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