Ventura County experiences a wide range in climate because of the varied topography throughout the county. Rainfall is limited in summer, and crops have to be irrigated. The annual high temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees on the coastal plain but as much as 100 degrees in the interior. In July, the average maximum temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees on the coastal plain but exceeds 90 degrees in the upper part of the Ventura and Cuyama River valleys. In January, the average minimum temperature is near 40 degrees on the coast but in the upper 20s and lower 30s in the northern parts of Ventura County.
In the northern and southern ends of the county, the annual precipitation is between 10 and 15 inches. In the Topatopa Mountains, the annual rainfall totals more than 33 inches. In the northern parts of Ventura County, snowfall averages 5 inches or more per year, and along the northern border and Mount Pinos, more than 20 inches.
Every second counts in a disaster so planning and preparation can be lifesavers.
Be Prepared California is California’s official emergency preparedness campaign managed by the California Department of Public Health. It’s website provides information on creating an emergency plan and emergency kit, pet preparedness and disaster preparedness for seniors. For more information about local disaster preparedness, visit www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov.
The following are considered significant hazards in California.
Earthquakes can occur anywhere in California, which means all Californians live with an earthquake risk. Besides the shaking caused by earthquakes, other things can occur such as landslides, surface fault ruptures and liquefaction, all of which may cause injury or property damage. Contact your local city or county government for information on how to be prepared where you live. More information and ideas on how to secure the contents of your home can be found by visiting www.earthquakecountry.info/daretoprepare.
Flash flooding is a frequent threat. Area terrain can be poorly absorbent, and dry channels, ditches and lake beds fill quickly. This can lead to flash floods.
A flash flood watch is issued when flash flooding is expected to occur within six hours after heavy rains have ended. A flash flood warning is issued for life- and propertythreatening flooding that will occur within six hours. During a flash flood watch or warning, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations or National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio for further weather information.
If you are outdoors during a rainstorm, seek higher ground. Avoid walking through floodwaters; even water 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. If you are driving, avoid flooded areas. Most deaths in flash floods occur when people drive through flooded areas. Roads concealed by water may not be intact. Water only a foot deep can displace a vehicle. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf a vehicle and sweep it away.
Some exposure to sunlight is good, even healthy, but too much can be dangerous. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet radiation, listed as a known carcinogen by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, can cause blistering sunburns, as well as long-term problems such as skin cancer, cataracts and immune suppression. Overexposure also causes wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.
Cloud cover reduces UV levels, but not completely. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, you can still burn on a cold and dim day, so be prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, long-sleeved garments, wide-brimmed hats and a parasol.
While more likely at certain times of year, thunderstorms can happen anytime. A severe thunderstorm can knock out power, bring high winds, lightning, flash floods and hail, and turn into a twister in seconds. Pay attention to storm warnings. Remember the rule: “When thunder roars, head indoors.” The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 Rule: People should seek shelter if the “Flash-to-Bang” delay — length of time in seconds from the sight of the lightning flash to the arrival of its subsequent thunder — is 30 seconds or less, and remain under cover for 30 minutes after the final thunderclap.
For more safety information, visit the National Weather Service’s website at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
Wildfires are now a year-round reality in Ventura County with many places in the area being at risk. Many homes and agricultural properties border natural areas, have access challenges and assets that are difficult to protect from an advancing wildfire.
Being ready for wildfire starts with maintaining an adequate defensible space and by hardening your home by using fire resistant building materials. Defensible space is the buffer you create by removing dead plants, grass and weeds. This buffer helps to keep the fire away from your home. Hardening your home means using construction materials that can help your home withstand flying embers finding weak spots in the construction, which can result in your house catching fire.
For more safety information and information about creating a wildfire action plan, visit CalFire’s website at www.readyforwildfire.org/Prepare-For-Wildfire.