Los Angeles County health officials issue cold weather alert
LA CAFE, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of people were left without power Saturday as a cold wave swept across the United States, and California authorities urged residents to stay indoors and use extra caution amid forecasts of heavy snow.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles and other counties in the region after the California Department of Transportation closed roads because of heavy snowfall and strong winds that damaged overhead power lines. He also ordered a state of emergency in San Francisco, Santa Clara and Solano counties following a request from officials there.
Los Angeles city officials declared a state of emergency Saturday for several areas including Santa Monica, Hancock Park and Hollywood.
“We’re just taking it day by day,” Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times, noting that some roads and fire hydrants were still flooded. “We will weather this storm, and I am encouraged by our resilience.”
The National Weather Service forecast a storm this week with winds gusting to 40 miles per hour in downtown Los Angeles. The winds were expected to pick up again Saturday.
Authorities warned people to avoid outdoor activities if possible. They also urged people to check on relatives, especially if they were elderly.
“We’re going to have an enormous number of callers,” Garcetti said. “I am really encouraged by the way I’m hearing people on the street.”
The weather service said that winds could cause some damage to power lines, which are expected to arrive on power lines and trees, as well as power poles.
“If you are seeing problems with your power, call us,” the weather service said.
The agency said that strong storms could cause power outages.
The Los Angeles fire department declared a state of emergency for several neighborhoods. “We have people working the fires, but we’re not prepared,” said Capt. Mike Parker, a spokesman for the department. “We’re taking it day by day and getting ready for the worst.”
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also announced they were suspending all non-court, institutional and contract intake of inmates on Saturday.
The California Highway Patrol urged motorists to take extreme caution. “Drive with caution if you have to travel on narrow, winding roads with large, wet, icy or slippery areas,” the agency said in a warning.
A number of Southern California schools — the Los Angeles Unified School