Even though we're in Southern California, Riverside residents may see dangerous winter weather while traveling and commuting, especially through the nearby San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountain Ranges. Extreme cold, dense fog, and even ice & snowstorms are possible during the winter months. Dangers from these weather conditions include unsafe roads, cold-related illness, fires, and power outages. When there's a winter weather risk in Southern California, the National Weather Service issues alerts. Sign up to receive emergency alerts.
Freeze Warning: Air temperature is expected to be 32 degrees F or lower for a significant amount of time
Hard Freeze Warning: Air temperature is expected to be 25 degrees F or lower for long enough to freeze water pipes
Dense Fog Advisory: Widespread or localized fog reduces visibility to 1/4 mile or less
Winter Storm Warning: A mix of wintry precipitation (freezing rain or snow) is happening or is about to happen
Ice Storm Warning: Heavy freezing rain is happening or is about to happen
During extreme cold
- Stay inside in heat during extreme cold.
- If you are homeless, seek shelter. During extreme cold, the citywide freeze plan will offer free shelter for homeless residents.
- If you have to go outside, wear layers, a hat & gloves and carry a cell phone.
- Check on neighbors, children, the elderly & chronically ill to make sure they are okay.
- Bring pets inside.
Know the signs of cold-related illness
See a doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you or someone you know has these symptoms:
- Shivering or fumbling hands
- Exhaustion or drowsiness
- Confusion or memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Bright red, cold skin or very low energy in infants
- Redness or pain in any skin area
- White or grayish-yellow skin area
- Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
Practice fire safety & prepare your home
- Never leave space heaters unattended.
- Never use a stove or an oven to heat your home.
- Check your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors to be sure they are working. Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
- Protect your water pipes from damage.
During an ice storm, snow, or dense fog
Stay informed & connected
- Sign up for Riverside Alert and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- Stay tuned to your local news.
- Know how to contact your loved ones, at work, at school, and at home.
- Follow the instructions of emergency officials.
Be careful on the road
- Listen to emergency personnel and do what they say.
- Stay off the road as much as possible.
- If you must drive, use extreme caution during icy or foggy conditions.
- Take extra care on elevated roads, like bridges.
Prepare for power outages
- Keep generators outside and away from your home.
- Stay warm: wear warm clothes and go to a public place like a library, recreation center, or mall for temporary relief.
- Use flashlights or lanterns instead of candles to avoid fire hazards.
- Preserve cell phone battery life. Texting saves battery life compared to calling.