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CALIFORNIA OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES URGES CAUTION DURING NEW SERIES OF STORMS; FLOODING, HEAVY SNOW LIKELY

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The first of several major rain- and snowstorms is due to hit California Wednesday night, and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES), the National Weather Service, and other emergency response agencies are recommending that residents use extreme caution over the next four to six days, and possibly longer.
 "We are advising people not to do any unnecessary traveling during this period and to keep alert to river levels and weather forecasts," cautions Richard Andrews, OES director. "They should also be prepared to act quickly if heavy rain or snow and flooding develop."
 Wednesday's storm is the first of a series lined up across the Pacific Ocean and is expected to drop three to six inches of rain along the coast from Marin County south to San Diego. It could also deliver up to four feet of snow in the Sierra from north of Lake Tahoe to Mammoth. Forecasters indicate that the potential for extremely heavy rainfall in short periods of time is very high.
 Another heavy storm is expected to hit Thursday night, with a third due in late Saturday or early Sunday.
 With rivers swollen and ground already saturated from previous storms, urban and small stream flooding is likely, as are rockslides and mudflows. Avalanches are also possible in mountainous areas.
 The Office of Emergency Services has been meeting with federal, state and local agencies to plan emergency actions during the storms. However, Andrews warned, "The most effective response is for citizens to take common sense safety actions to avoid problems in the first place."
 Information on first aid and emergency supply storage is in the white pages of most telephone books. In addition, here are a few winter safety tips:
 -- Keep a portable radio, flashlights, and spare batteries
 handy.
 -- Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times.
 -- Know the safe routes from your home or office to high ground.
 -- Do not try to drive over flooded roads. If your car
 stalls, abandon it IMMEDIATELY and seek higher ground.
 -- Use the telephone only for family emergency needs or to
 report dangerous conditions.
 -- Tune to a local radio or television station for emergency
 information and instructions from local authorities.
 For those in high elevations:
 -- Keep an adequate supply of heating fuel on hand and use it
 sparingly. Keep propane stoves well ventilated to reduce the
 likelihood of explosion.
 -- Keep extra supplies of water and food on hand.
 -- Keep emergency winter storm supplies in your car, such as sand,
 shovel, flares, booster cables, tow line, blanket, heavy gloves,
 and first aid kit.
 -- If a storm traps you on the road, pull off the highway and
 remain in your car, where rescuers are most likely to find you.
 -0- 2/16/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Mullins of the Office of Emergency Services, 916-262-1843/


CO: California Office of Emergency Services ST: California IN: SU:

TM -- SF014 -- 7035 02/16/93 18:47 EST
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Date:Feb 16, 1993
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