*UPDATE on July 17 @ 2:00 p.m.*
Due to the fire weather concerns in the North Bay Mountains and the greater Bay Area, the City of Santa Rosa, County of Sonoma, and the National Weather Service Bay Area have decided to CANCEL the emergency alert and warning exercise originally scheduled for Tuesday, July 20. This exercise would have included a NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm system test and a SoCoAlert test in a targeted geographical area in the City of Santa Rosa. This alert and warning exercise will be rescheduled to a later date.
The National Weather Service has elevated the original Fire Weather Watch to a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay Mountains and upper elevations of Sonoma County from Sunday at 5PM to Monday afternoon. The warning is based on a chance for dry lightning Sunday into Monday. The potential thunderstorms will be a mix of dry and wet, but given how dry the fuels are, any lightning strikes will be problematic. The threat for thunderstorms diminishes Monday afternoon as the moisture moves northward.
The City of Santa Rosa has plans to upstaff additional firefighters and emergency operations needs. This is being done out of an abundance of caution to ensure we are prepared for weather or fire related type incidents.
WIND: Given the potentially dry nature of thunderstorms gusty and erratic winds will be possible with developed storms.
TIMING: Thunderstorm threat most likely late Sunday afternoon through early Monday afternoon.
LIGHTNING: Isolated to scattered dry thunderstorms will be possible Sunday afternoon through early Monday afternoon.
IMPACTS: Given the dry fuels over the higher elevations, any cloud to ground lightning strikes have the potential of starting new wildfires.
Please visit srcity.org/ReadySR and review emergency preparedness information including tips and checklists. You can also learn more about fire weather warnings and wildfire preparation measures you can take at srcity.org/WildfireReady.
When you hear the thunder roar, head indoors.
The County of Sonoma, City of Santa Rosa, and the National Weather Service Bay Area will conduct an emergency alert and warning exercise comprised of two individual tests on July 20. The effort includes a countywide test of the NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm system as well as a targeted text message, email and/or phone call alert test to select subscribers of SoCoAlert.
The first test, at about noon, is a test emergency message broadcast to all NOAA Weather Radios (NWR) throughout Sonoma County. The NWR warning alarm will sound one time, then be followed by a short test message, and then a closing alarm tone. This test message will be transmitted as a Civil Emergency Message and the words “Civil Emergency Message” may scroll across the NWR displays of compatible radios. The NWR test cycle will play through only one time. NWR owners are encouraged to ensure that warning alarms are enabled for Civil Emergency Messages in order to take part in this test. NWRs distributed via the City of Santa Rosa distribution events are already preprogrammed with this feature enabled.
The second test, a targeted email, text message and/or phone call alert, will be directed to those who have addresses within the City of Santa Rosa’s Montecito Heights and Fountaingrove 2 designated evacuation zones. At 1:00 p.m., a test emergency message will be launched in the City of Santa Rosa’s Montecito Heights designated evacuation zone. This will be a short text message, email and/or phone call to all contacts associated with an address within the Montecito Heights zone. At 1:15 p.m., a test emergency message will be launched in the City of Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove 2 designated evacuation zone and will also consist of a short text message, email and/or phone call to all contacts associated with an address within the Fountaingrove 2 zone.
Residents are encouraged to prepare ahead of the exercise on July 20. Santa Rosa residents who are unsure of their designated evacuation zone, should look it up at socoemergency.org/evacuation-map or by calling 2-1-1 for assistance over the phone. While only select Santa Rosa residents will be included in the text, phone, and email alert test, it is important for all residents to know their evacuation zone to be prepared for an emergency, and all community members are encouraged to take a few minutes to do so. All Sonoma County residents who own a NOAA Weather Radio should also make sure their device is plugged in, with back up batteries installed, and set up per the radio manufacturer instructions. To be prepared for an actual emergency at any time, all Sonoma County residents should register for emergency alerts at socoemergency.org/sign-up, and existing subscribers should review and update contact information as necessary.
The targeted text message and phone call alert test will compare two separate alerting systems that utilize the County’s SoCoAlert subscriber base – Everbridge will be used for the 1:00 p.m. test and Code Red will be used at 1:15 p.m. By comparing the alerting systems side-by-side, emergency officials can evaluate how two separate warning system providers perform in reaching targeted residents. The State of California has selected Sonoma County as a pilot county to test the efficacy of the Everbridge system. The test of the Non-Weather Emergency Message system using NOAA Weather Radios will provide the opportunity to test an expanded use of an existing alerting tool. This summer, the City of Santa Rosa distributed approximately 12,000 NOAA Weather Radios to city residents to leverage this additional emergency alerting opportunity. Funds for this distribution were provided through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
More information about the Joint Alert and Warning Exercise on July 20 is available at SoCoEmergency.org/July20Exercise. For information specific to Santa Rosa, visit srcity.org/July20Exercise.