The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that at least 12 people have died since the storms began.
The severe storm that hit the San Bernardino Mountains is the worst on record in decades. In just a few days, more than 100 inches of snow fell in the mountains of San Bernadino County, blocking off numerous roads. On February 28, authorities declared a state of emergency.
As of Wednesday, March 8, 488 miles of county-maintained mountain roads have been serviced. pic.twitter.com/7iOMK6afGw
— SBCounty (@SBCounty) March 9, 2023
The sheriff's spokeswoman Mara Rodriguez told the media that two more bodies were found Wednesday in the towns of Crestline and Big Bear. These two are in addition to the 10 deaths resulting from the storm which began on February 24.
The spokeswoman does not link all of these deaths to the snowfall. According to testimony provided to the Los Angeles Times, several of the deceased were reportedly trapped in their homes. With their homes buried in the snow, they died from a lack of resources and medicine. According to Mara Rodríguez, one more death resulted from a traffic accident caused by the storm.
WPC has initiated Key Messages for a winter storm set to deliver heavy rain & mountain snow to California late week. Expected impacts include (but are not limited to) treacherous travel in higher terrain & flooding from a combination of heavy rain & snowmelt. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/BEv7t1OyDV
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) March 7, 2023
The county announced Wednesday that 90% of the roads had already been cleared. About 800 volunteers lent a hand. Some representatives of the affected counties believe that the state could have acted more efficiently.
Brian Ferguson, spokesman for the state's Office of Emergency Services, defended the state's efforts. "The unique and challenging part of this storm was that it affected so many parts of our state simultaneously," Ferguson said, in statements reported by the Los Angeles Times.
County authorities announced that they intend to continue conducting welfare checks on isolated homes in the affected areas. According to the National Weather Service, the storm will continue to hit California with heavy rains in the coming days. In San Bernardino County, nearly 1,000 homes were still experiencing power outages Thursday, according to the Poweroutrage website.