Sheriff declares continued state of emergency

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors last week, at Sheriff Joe Garofalo’s request, asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to continue to declare that a state of emergency exists in Colusa County as a result of a series of storms that continued to dump excessive rain on already saturated grounds. 

At 2:15 PM, on March 4, Garofalo once again proclaimed a local state of emergency due to recent flooding and high water events that were caused by excessive rainfall.

The declaration will be forwarded to the State Office of Emergency Services and Gov. Newsom, who could provide an opportunity for the county to receive up to 75 percent of the added costs incurred as a result of the storms, Garofalo said. 

The opportunity would not be limited to just county operations, but could apply to special districts and schools as well. 

Garofalo said the Sheriff’s Office has incurred additional costs since his first declaration of an emergency in January. 

Garofalo said a major storm on Jan. 5, two atmospheric rivers on Feb. 12 and Feb. 25, and additional storms that continued into last week threaten lives, homes, crops, and other structures as floodwaters inundate thousands of acres of land.  

The county’s costs as a result of the continued storms are largely overtime pay, pump rentals, and fuel costs, Garofalo said. 

“I won’t speak on behalf of Public Works, but just traveling roads in Colusa County, I know there are going to be future costs incurred there,” Garofalo said. 

According to the resolution adopted last week, the Sheriff’s Office increased staffing, particularly during the February storms, to patrol roads and help rescue people stranded after driving around road closure signs, and Colusa County Public Works increased their staffing to 24 hour operations to respond to flooding of roads and damage to public infrastructure. 

Due to flooded conditions, 24 Colusa County roads remained closed. For detailed information, visit online at colusacounty.org. ■