Flash floods cause an emergency across the state to be declared


Ibrahim Saxe

Rain turns a normally dry canyon on Grand Avenue near Longview Drive to a stunning green view across the city.

Ibrahim Saxe

Southern California started off the new year with storm after storm after storm. Such back to back storms have shocked the drought ridden region. Throughout the state drought severity has dropped in the past month from mostly extreme and severe, to mostly severe and moderate, and no longer any exceptional drought regions in the state. Chino Hills has received a total of more than eight inches of rain in the first two weeks of 2023, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During the storms the governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency. The White House then ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to send aid at levels similar to a hurricane disaster. 

“I do not think it was an emergency as it was not lethal or dangerous in any way,” Jacob Pak (10) said. 

Though in other parts of the state people have died. NBC News reported that 17 people have died in the storms. Most deaths fall into two categories: trees falling on people and water sweeping away vehicles with individuals inside.

“Personally I really enjoyed the rain,” Matthew Hansen (12) said. “But [I] understand that elsewhere in the state there was flooding and other effects that caused some people to die, so not an emergency for me but for other people, yes.” 

Since the start of the new year there have been more than 300 landslides according to the California Department of Conservation. Such high numbers are due to the drought as dry soil fails to absorb as much water compared to moist soil, according to NPR. Many cities have started to prepare for future storms by putting up metal nets to prevent mudslides from doing significant damage. A significant amount of infrastructure in California has been damaged. Early estimates have put total repair costs at 1 billion dollars.

I bike to school, it sucked that one day where it rained when I was [biking to school], but I was lucky on other days since it rained only during school,” Tony Xu (11) said.

Climate change has created more extreme weather due to average temperature climbing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As rainfall totals at least 400 percent above the average according to CNN, it is clear that these storms are not normal.The recent storms show that what appears to be a standard dry season can turn wet fast and students need to be prepared.

“[I need to] make sure the wipers on my car work well, my raincoat fits me well, and I have a working umbrella,” said Hansen.

In case of an emergency one can go to the local fire department to get up to 25 free sandbags and must bring a shovel. Home owners should also check to ensure all roof tiles are present, especially around the chimney. Also prepare a go bag incase of an evacuation and call 211 to receive emergency alerts or sign up on the San Bernardino County website. Also clearing out gutters and buying flood insurance can help recovery efforts as many traditional home insurance policies do not include protection against flooding.