MENDOCINO Co., 12/26/23 — For more than seven years here at The Mendocino Voice, we’ve provided breaking news on wildfires, power shutoffs, floods, road closures, and other emergency situations. Beyond updates on current conditions, we’ve published information on preparedness and prevention, compiled resources for people who endure both the immediate hazards of natural disasters, and the ensuing economic crisis and mental duress that can come with these emergencies.
As these events become more frequent, we have put together a general information guide to help you navigate and prepare for emergencies, first focused on wildfires, and now on winter weather and floods, below. We’ve also included past articles and resources which are still relevant and useful, and have been aggregated and organized here. We know it’s not always easy to find current and accurate information in the middle of an emergency, and so we hope this guide will help keep you stay prepared and informed during whatever winter weather may come.
We recommend bookmarking this page as these are useful resources during many different kinds of emergencies, and there are the links to official sources. This guide is specifically focused on Mendocino County, and so does not include links to Humboldt, Lake, and Sonoma, although we have included a number of state and national resources so you can find information about specific locations wherever you may be.
What has helped you? Please comment or contact [email protected] if there are any resources we’ve missed so we can include them here.
Here’s our emergency “need to go” wildfire guide, for the warmer months.
Emergency offices, public safety and public health resources:
- Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Nixle webpage, you can sign up for alerts
- Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Twitter and Facebook
- Mendocino County on Twitter and Facebook
- Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office MendoAlert for emergency notifications, sign up for it here.
- Video from Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office covering the different kinds of emergency notifications used by the county — check to make sure you are signed up
- Mendocino County emergency scanner feed on Broadcastify
- Mendocino Office of Emergency Services, where you can find your evacuation zone and information during current emergencies
- Mendocino County Public Health, Mendocino County Environmental Health
- CAL FIRE Mendocino on Facebook and Twitter
- California Office of Emergency Services
- FEMA Region 9 website
- Emergency “go bags” and home preparedness:
- The Mendocino Voice’s guide to preparing an emergency go-bag
- Home emergency preparedness tips from the County of Mendocino
- California Department of Public Health’s Be Prepared California website
- Federal site Ready.gov has general info,
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s emergency page.
- Mendocino County 24/7 mental health crisis hotline and other crisis resources
- Project Sanctuary, free resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, 24/7 contact lines: (707) 463-4357 for the inland county area, and (707) 964-4357 for the coast
Local agencies within Mendocino County: Many local jurisdictions and fire departments post updates on their social media pages
- Albion Little River Fire Protection District on Facebook
- Anderson Valley Fire Department on Facebook
- Brooktrails Township Fire Department on Facebook
- City of Fort Bragg on Facebook
- Fort Bragg Police Department on Facebook
- Hopland Volunteer Fire Department on Facebook
- Leggett Valley Fire Department on Facebook
- City of Point Arena on Facebook and Instagram, weather page
- South Coast Fire Protection District (Gualala) on Facebook
- City of Ukiah on Facebook
- City of Ukiah Police Department on Facebook
- Westport Volunteer Fire Department on Facebook
- City of Willits on Facebook
- Willits Police Department on Facebook
Weather conditions, alerts and forecasts:
- Check your specific NWS forecast at this link along with the National Weather Service advisories and warnings
- NWS Eureka posts alerts and current info on their Facebook page and their Twitter page
- Weather Underground is another place to look for weather stations in your area
- Windy.com offers good current wind information
- Lightningmaps.org to track lightning strikes and the weather radar
- Deep Swell surf reports
- NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center (look for southwest U.S. region)
- Daily observed precipitation from CoCoRAHS network
- Daniel Swain’s Weather West website — Swain is a climatologist, who often writes about weather forecasts for California and the Western U.S.
Winter storm safety info:
- Red Cross winter storm preparedness tips
- Red Cross winter storm safety checklist
- Information on frost bite and hypothermia
- National Weather Service tips for vehicle and home safety in winter storms
- Ready.gov winter weather guide, including generator safety tips
Flooding and debris info:
- USGS current conditions for stream flows in Mendocino County
- NWS has flood stage predictions here
- NWS flood info
- NOAA tsunami information and warning webpage
- FEMA flood risk address search
- CDC info on public health and floodwaters
- National Ready.gov flood preparedness site
- State of California flood preparedness and safety tips
- Flood safety info:
- do not drive into floodwaters; turn around, return to a safe location, and wait for them to recede.
- Listen and watch for rushing water, mud, and/or unusual sounds. Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris. A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as landslides near. Movement of fences, retaining walls, utility poles, boulders, or trees. Report debris flows to 9-1-1 Again, please use caution if you’re driving and stay home if possible.
Road information, current closures and incidents:
- Check the Caltrans QuickMap for current road closures or call 1-800-GAS-ROAD
- Caltrans District 1 on Facebook and Twitter
- Check for current accidents at the CHP traffic update page
- Mendocino National Forest closures and related alerts
- Road cameras:
- Likely closures depending on weather conditions:
- Mendocino County Department of Transportation closes a number of roads during the winter time, find closures here.
- State Route 128 often floods if the Navarro River at Navarro reaches flood stage
- State Route 175 often floods if the Russian River at Hopland reaches flood stage
- State Route 1 often floods if the Garcia River near Point Arena reaches flood stage
PG&E and other power information and outages:
- It’s always good to be prepared for possible power outages; rural grids especially can be “fragile” in extreme weather.
- Charging stations may be established by PG&E during planned or ongoing outages; Mendocino County and the City of Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Willits and Point Arena may also establish charging stations during specific events
- Fort Bragg: CV Starr Center. Fort Bragg Police Department, Fort Bragg City Hall
- Point Arena: Point Arena City Hall
- Check the PG&E current outage map to find or report power outages
- City of Ukiah planned power shutoff page, Facebook page, 24/7 power outage hotline: 707-463-6288
- National “Ready.gov” power outage info
- Information from the CDC about preparing for and dealing with a power outage
- Mendocino Voice 2019 article about food safety after a power outage
- Information about PG&E’s medical baseline program for customers using life-supporting medical equipment
- Electric generator safety tips from PG&E
- Xfinity outage map and address lookup
Storm Safety Tips from PG&E:
- Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on powerlines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
- Have fresh drinking water and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Animal related resources:
- County of Mendocino Disaster Preparedness for Animals page
- Mendocino Wildlife Association wildlife rescue resources page
- The Halter Project’s animal prepardness guide
- Marine Mammal Center marine animal rescue page
- ASPCA’s site here for pet preparedness
Sandbags and other resources: Please note: this will change and depend on each specific weather event
- Hopland Band of Pomo Indians located at the corner of Hwy 101 and Hwy 175
- Friedman’s Home Improvement in Ukiah
- Redwood Valley Fire Station
- The Willits Justice Center located at 125 E Commercial Street in Willits
- Laytonville Fire Station
What has helped you? Are there any resources that have helped you get through fire season that you don’t see in this article? It is still being updated, so please send an email to [email protected] and we’ll update it as soon as possible.