With a strong winter storm approaching the Central Coast, Los Padres National Forest officials are reminding the public to plan accordingly if they intend to visit any forest recreation areas over the next week.
The storm could bring snow-covered and slippery roads, rockslides, trail washouts, possible flash floods, and other hazards.
The forest strongly encourages visitors to take the appropriate steps to ensure personal safety in the event you or your party become lost or stranded, including:
• Contact the Forest Service office nearest your destination for current conditions as many forest roads are closed during significant weather events and some are closed for the entire winter.
• Check local weather reports and bring a map of the area with you and know how to read it.
• Check your tires and windshield wiper blades and make sure your vehicle has a full tank or is fully charged.
• If you’re visiting high-elevation areas where snow is possible, make sure to bring tire chains.
• Bring an extra set of dry clothes, a warm jacket and hat, gloves, and appropriate footwear.
• Pack extra food and water, a flashlight with fresh batteries, a first-aid kit, and a shovel.
• Leave your itinerary and expected time of return with a family member or friend.
• If you become lost or injured, stay calm and get out of the elements when possible. Stay put and do not wander. Searchers have a better chance of finding you faster if you remain near your planned route.
• Remember that while cell phones are helpful, cell coverage is spotty or unavailable in many areas of the forest.
Visitors are reminded that an "adventure pass" is required for “snow play” areas of the forest. With potentially significant snowfall expected recreation areas such as Figueroa Mountain and Mt. Pinos could experience high visitor traffic. The public is encouraged to drive slowly and carefully, always stay on the road, and be aware of oncoming traffic when visibility is low. Vehicles should never park in areas that block roads or driveways.
Visit the forest website or contact a forest office for current conditions.