USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Site Notification

Site Notification

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

California Emergency Declaration 1.4.23-SOE (Severe Winter Storms)



WHEREAS beginning December 27, 2022, severe winter storms related to a series of atmospheric river systems struck California, bringing high winds, substantial precipitation, and river and urban flooding; and

WHEREAS it is forecasted that additional and continuing storms related to this series of atmospheric river systems threaten California, bringing heavy rainfall, expected flooding, strong winds and wind gusts, falling debris, downed trees, and widespread power outages; and

WHEREAS in preparation for the forecasted storms, multiple California Conservation Corps flood fight crews, fire swift water rescue, and urban search and rescue teams have been strategically prepositioned for emergency response; sandbags have been made available throughout the State; and shelters are opening for displaced individuals; and

WHEREAS these storms forced the closure and caused damage to highways and roads, as well as caused levee and culvert failures, and mandatory evacuations in severely impacted counties, and such impacts will likely continue to be caused by the forecasted storms; and

WHEREAS these storms threatened and continue to threaten critical infrastructure, movement of resources, burn scars from recent wildfires potentially causing mud and debris flows; resulted in and threaten power outages to thousands of households and businesses; and caused and continue to threaten river and urban flooding due to excessive and prolonged rainfall; and

WHEREAS due to the series of atmospheric river systems continuously impacting counties throughout the State, the counties have not had time to mitigate the cascading impacts of these storms; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of Government Code section 8558(b), I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to these storms; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of Government Code section 8558(b), I find that the conditions caused by these storms, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to appropriately respond; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of Government Code section 8625(c), I find that local authority is inadequate to cope with the magnitude of the damage caused by these storms; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of Government Code section 8571, I find that strict compliance with various statutes and regulations specified in this Proclamation would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of these storms.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the State Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, Government Code section 8625, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist throughout California.


  1. All agencies of the state government utilize and employ state personnel, equipment, and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the direction of the Office of Emergency Services and the State Emergency Plan. Also, all residents are to obey the direction of emergency officials with regard to this emergency in order to protect their safety.
  2. The Office of Emergency Services shall provide assistance to local governments, if appropriate, under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act, Government Code section 8680 et seq., and California Code of Regulations, Title 19, section 2900 et seq.
  3. As necessary to assist local governments and for the protection of public health and the environment, state agencies shall enter into contracts to arrange for the procurement of materials, goods, and services necessary to quickly assist with the response to and recovery from the impacts of these storms. Applicable provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code, including but not limited to travel, advertising, and competitive bidding requirements, are suspended to the extent necessary to address the effects of these storms.
  4. Any fairgrounds the Office of Emergency Services determines suitable to assist individuals impacted by these storms shall be made available to the Office of Emergency Services pursuant to the Emergency Services Act, Government Code section 8589. The Office of Emergency Services shall notify the fairgrounds of the intended use and may immediately utilize the fairgrounds without the fairground board of directors' approval.    ·
  5. The California Department of Transportation shall formally request immediate assistance through the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief Program, United States Code, Title 23, section 125, in order to obtain federal assistance for highway repairs or reconstruction.
  6. The California National Guard may be mobilized under Military and Veterans Code section 146 to support disaster response and relief efforts, as directed by the Office of Emergency Services, and to coordinate with all relevant state agencies and state and local emergency responders and law enforcement within the impacted areas. Sections 147 and 188 of the Military and Veterans Code are applicable during the period of participation in this mission, exempting the California Military Department from applicable procurement rules for specified emergency purchases, and those rules are hereby suspended.
  7. Any state-owned properties the Office of Emergency Services determines suitable for staging of debris as a result of these storms shall be made available to the Office of Emergency Services for this purpose in accordance with Government Code section 8570.
  8. Drivers may exceed the hours-of-service limits specified in California Vehicle Code section 34501.2 and California Code of Regulations, Title 13, section 1212.5 while operating a vehicle engaged in fuel transportation in support of emergency relief efforts, subject to the following conditions:
    1. Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are eligible for the exemption once the out-of-service order expires or when they have met the conditions for its rescission.
    2. In accordance with Section 1214, Title 13, California Code of Regulations, no motor carrier operating under the terms of this Proclamation will require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor vehicle carrier that they need immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours off-duty before being required to return to service.
    3. Drivers shall maintain a driver's record of duty status, regardless of number of hours worked each day. These records shall be prepared, submitted, and maintained as required by Section 1213, Title 13, California Code of Regulations.
  9. Consistent with Parts 390 and 395, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, drivers may exceed the hours-of-service limits specified while operating a vehicle engaged in fuel transportation in support of emergency relief efforts. These waivers shall be in effect for the duration of the driver's direct assistance in providing emergency relief, or thirty (30) days from the date of this Proclamation, whichever is less.
  10. In order to allow out-of-state contractors and other utilities driving their own vehicles to provide mutual aid assistance for the restoration of electrical power within the counties impacted by these storms, applicable provisions of the Vehicle Code including, but not limited to, Vehicle Code section 34620 requiring a motor carrier permit [licensing] and imposition of certain fees, are suspended for motor carriers providing such assistance. Also, the requirements for motor carriers and drivers in Vehicle Code sections 1808.1 [pull-notice program that checks for driver's license violations], 27900 [display name on vehicle], 27901 [size and color of display name on vehicle], 34505.5 [requirement to have been inspected within 90 days], and 34501.12 [requirement to set up home base in California] are suspended while providing mutual aid assistance for the emergency restoration of services.

 I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this Proclamation.

This Proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 4th day of January 2023.

Governor of California


Secretary of State

Last updated: Thursday, January 5, 2023