San Franciscans get sandbags ahead of Wednesday's rainstorm.
San Franciscans rush to get sandbags outside the Department of Public Works on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's rainstorm. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

California's governor declared a state of emergency on Wednesday due to the impending winter storm.

California is preparing for the storm and keeping people safe. As a result of the state of emergency, the state will be able to respond quickly as the storm develops.

The State Operations Center is put at its highest level of readiness because of the declaration.

The storm that is forecast to unleash multiple inches of new rainfall along with high winds began lashing the California coastline late Wednesday morning, hours after it had originally been expected to push on shore.

🛰Marvel at the satellite imagery this morning. Those asking, "Where's the Storm"? It's still coming. The rain this morning is not the main event so to speak. Heavier rain is expected later today. Blue dots are lightning flashes. #cawx

— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) January 4, 2023

San Francisco received over five inches of rain on New Year's Eve, just shy of its all time record. With the ground now saturated and with numerous rivers already at flood stage, the additional rain and wind are expected to cause chaos across the state.

The governor's office said to take inventory of the items that rely on electricity. If the power goes out, it's a good idea to have batteries and other power sources available. Have lights for everyone in the house. Do you know if your home phone will work in a power outage and how long the backup will last?

Impassable roads are likely to be an effect of the storm.

Nancy Ward, director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said at a Wednesday news conference that this may be one of the most challenging storms to hit California in the last five years.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office issued warnings for parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains ahead of the heavy rain.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention was issuing warnings to residents about the dangers of flooding as the storm approached.

Flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for many cities in the state.

While the storm hitting Wednesday into Thursday is the most immediate threat to the state, California is also expected to continue to see heavy rain from an ongoing atmospheric river in nine of the next 10 days.

Additional storms are expected to linger into next week, according to a press release.