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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a multi-language outreach effort aimed at reaching more than 1 million residents living in high-risk flood areas across the state.

The program is intended to protect Californians ahead of future flooding driven by record snowpack. Tulare County and several surrounding Central Valley counties are targeted through Listos California.

The outreach effort will mobilize teams of phone-bankers to connect with people living in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Bernardino and Tulare counties.

“Whether it is on the phone, at a community gathering or at their door, having meaningful contact with Californians is how we empower our communities to keep themselves and their families safe from disasters,” Newsom said this week.

In March, following a series of storms, erosion to the Tule River bank triggered evacuation orders in southeastern Tulare County. Woodlake, Cutler/Orosi and Allensworth reported heavy flooding. The order required all residents and visitors leave the area before the water causes unsafe conditions for homes and people in the area.

More flooding is anticipated to impact the state this spring and summer in what has been coined, “The Big Melt.”

Californians in the target counties will receive information and resources in English, Spanish, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese or Mandarin, depending on their language. The calls will include flood awareness and preparedness information while encouraging residents to sign up for local emergency notifications and offering suggestions on how best to prepare for, respond to and recover from flooding.

There is no charge for recommended services and there are strict measures in place to ensure confidentiality of personal information, state officials said.

The State Department of Water Resources (DWR) has measured that statewide snowpack is at 237% of average. The runoff from that snowpack combined with rivers, reservoirs and watersheds that are already swollen from previous rainfall has created dangerous conditions in many parts of the state.

“While we are under blue skies today significant danger remains in many parts of our state. It is critical that Californians understand their risk and take steps to prepare themselves for possible flooding that could continue well into the summer months,” said Cal OES Director Nancy Ward.

The program is modeled after a campaign-style “Get Out the Vote” effort, according to state officials.

Amada Pinon, right, and her aunt work Wednesday, March 15, 2023 in the living room wrecked by waist high flood water that ran through the neighborhood Friday in the north side of Woodlake. It was flooded again Tuesday night.

Amada Pinon, right, and her aunt work Wednesday, March 15, 2023 in the living room wrecked by waist high flood water that ran through the neighborhood Friday in the north side of Woodlake. It was flooded again Tuesday night.

This article originally appeared on Visalia Times-Delta: New state program aims to help Valley residents living in flood areas

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