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Southwest Mobile Storage – Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Los Angeles, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage was established in 1995, serving more than 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers rent, buy or modify containers for their moving, storage and custom needs. We offer a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers for rent in Los Angeles, CA. You deserve vault-like security, superior service, unrivaled expertise with the best quality and service you can find when renting, buying or modifying shipping containers.

Whether you need mobile storage, portable office space, a combo unit or a custom container for a specific purpose, we’ve got your back. Here’s how:



We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you’ll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.


Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem — we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.


Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.


Take your time packing with our moving containers. We’ll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you’re ready to move. So, you don’t have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.


Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.


We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you’re ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.


Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it’s faster and easier than building additions.


If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we’ve got you covered. We’ll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level


We’ll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You’ll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you’ll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard – our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers at our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don’t have to pay extra for it.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won’t find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality -High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.


Wind and water-tight so you don’t have to stress about rain or condensation ruining the contents inside.
Delivered to your desired location by a dependable roll- off truck
Grinded, prepped and painted before rental by our container fabrication experts.
Fully customizable to fit your unique needs.
Equipped with a dual high-security dual- locking systems.
Delivered by our skilled, experienced drivers for worry-free delivery.

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don’t believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.


High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.


When you own a business or manage one, it’s crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it’s to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it’s a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.


Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn’t know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don’t know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they’re marking up the price.
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won’t have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.


Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.


With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we’re able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don’t have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won’t have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don’t have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings. You won’t get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you’re always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don’t always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Los Angeles, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.


We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Los Angeles, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it’s easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don’t have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours – whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.


You’ll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you’ll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don’t have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don’t have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don’t know who’s actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.


Whether you’re in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we’ll be by your side to work out the logistics.




Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Los Angeles, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.



Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.



Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It’s a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.



When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.


Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @


Latest News in Los Angeles

What we know about L.A. County’s first case of the Omicron variant

California has recorded its second confirmed case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, this one in Los Angeles County.There are currently no indications of a larger outbreak, and officials are urging people not to panic, saying they see no need ...

California has recorded its second confirmed case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, this one in Los Angeles County.

There are currently no indications of a larger outbreak, and officials are urging people not to panic, saying they see no need for more restrictions at this time.

Here is what we know:

The patient

The infection, county officials said, was most probably travel-related, as the person had returned to L.A. after flying to South Africa via London on Nov. 22 — just days before Omicron’s detection was publicly announced and the World Health Organization officially declared it a “variant of concern.”

“A small number of close contacts in Los Angeles have been identified and, to date, all have tested negative and have no symptoms,” county officials said in a statement.


The infected adult, identified only as a fully vaccinated L.A. County resident, is “self-isolating, and their symptoms are improving without medical care,” the county said.


The L.A. case came a day after San Francisco announced the first confirmed U.S. Omicron infection, the first identified in the U.S. Since the initial discovery, additional cases have been found in Colorado, New York, Hawaii and Minnesota.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have always known there would be more mutations, resulting in the possibility of a more dangerous variant than the Delta variant,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “While we can’t know for certain the impact of Omicron at this time, the good news is that we already know how to reduce transmission and slow spread using both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions.”

The infected San Francisco resident also returned home from South Africa on Nov. 22, according to local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The person developed symptoms around Nov. 25 — Thanksgiving — and got tested Sunday.

Citing privacy, health officials released few details about the individual, other than the person is 18 to 49 years old.

The person was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization. Officials said the individual’s condition was improving as of Wednesday.

What’s next

Officials are urging residents to get tested for the coronavirus more frequently when it makes sense to do so — particularly if they plan to travel or gather with family or friends during the holiday season.

Increased testing has long been a centerpiece of both the local and federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such screenings have grown even more important following the discovery of the new highly mutated strain.

L.A. County will instruct skilled nursing facilities to introduce more routine testing of residents and staff, “and to offer rapid testing for visitors that are entering any indoor spaces at these facilities,” Ferrer said Thursday.

California confirms nation’s first Omicron variant coronavirus case

As expected, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, first detected in southern Africa, has reached the U.S., with the first case found in California.SAN FRANCISCO —The first U.S. case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been confirmed in San Francisco, putting California at the center of the nation’s pandemic response once again.Officials said the infected individual returned home from South Africa on Nov. 22. A few days after arriving, the person began to feel ill and got tested. On Monday, the re...

As expected, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, first detected in southern Africa, has reached the U.S., with the first case found in California.


The first U.S. case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been confirmed in San Francisco, putting California at the center of the nation’s pandemic response once again.

Officials said the infected individual returned home from South Africa on Nov. 22. A few days after arriving, the person began to feel ill and got tested. On Monday, the result came back positive, and the virus specimen was subsequently analyzed and revealed to be the latest named coronavirus strain.

The person was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization. Officials said the individual’s condition was improving as of Wednesday.

There are no signs yet of any larger outbreak in the Bay Area, and state and federal officials emphasized that caution, rather than consternation, is called for.

In California, health and political leaders remain confident that the new variant will not require the reimposition of lockdowns or other restrictions. Rather, they said, this latest twist in the nearly 2-year-old pandemic reinforces the message they’ve long been trumpeting: More people should get vaccinated and boosted once they’re eligible.

“There’s more panic than information around this new variant,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a briefing Wednesday. “And that just means we have to keep our mind open, but maintain our vigilance.”

The variant’s arrival was not unexpected. First detected last month, the strain has already been found in roughly two dozen countries.

“We knew that it was just a matter of time before the first case of Omicron would be detected in the United States,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, said during a briefing Wednesday.

Officials said the infected San Francisco resident is self-isolating. Close contacts have been identified and have tested negative so far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The case was confirmed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, with genomic sequencing conducted at UC San Francisco.

“The person recently traveled to South Africa and developed symptoms upon their return,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health. “And they did the right thing and got tested and reported their travel history.”

Colfax said he doesn’t anticipate altering the COVID-19 measures that are already in place, saying: “This is not where we were 20 months ago. We are in a much better place.”

San Francisco, he noted, has a high vaccination rate, and is confident in existing protocols.

“Our masking and vaccine requirements are among some of the most stringent in the country. These efforts have been very effective in helping us slow the spread of the virus,” Colfax said.

Citing privacy, health officials released few details about the individual. Newsom said the person was between 18 and 49 years old.

“We must remain vigilant against this variant, but it is not a cause for panic,” the California and San Francisco departments of public health said in a joint statement. “To help detect and prevent the spread of this new variant, the state of California is increasing COVID-19 testing at our airports for arrivals from countries identified by the CDC.

“We recognize that everyone is exhausted, and the news of a new variant can be overwhelming,” the statement continued. “It is important that we collectively focus on the things we know prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Individuals should get vaccinated and boosted; wear your mask in indoor settings; get tested if you have symptoms; and stay home if you are sick.”

Still, the arrival of the highly mutated variant comes at what was already shaping up to be a particularly precarious time in California. Officials have long expressed concern that the one-two punch of the end-of-year holiday season and colder weather will increasingly push people to gather in crowded indoor settings where the risk of coronavirus transmission is especially high.

But whether Omicron ultimately proves to be more of a speed bump or a roadblock on California’s path to pandemic recovery remains to be seen.

Like San Francisco, officials in Los Angeles County and at the state level have also indicated they’re not currently contemplating significant new coronavirus-related restrictions in light of the emergence of the new variant.

When asked specifically about the possibility of renewed business or school shutdowns, Newsom said: “None of us want to see that happen. I certainly don’t want to see that happen. And I see no indication at this moment whatsoever that that’s in our immediate future, as long as we continue our nation-leading efforts.”

“It’s really important for folks to understand we have agency in this pandemic,” he said. “We’re not bystanders in this pandemic. It’s our decisions that will determine our fate and future.” Much remains unknown about Omicron. Answers to the most pressing questions — whether the variant spreads more easily, can cause severe illness, or dodge some of the protection afforded by vaccines — likely won’t be known for a few weeks.

And while the enemy may be new, public health officials say the battle plan is familiar. The central thrust of those efforts remains getting as many people vaccinated as possible, and having adults avail themselves of booster shots when their time comes.

“We don’t know everything we need to know yet about the Omicron variant. But we know that vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect yourself from severe illness and complications from all known SARS-CoV-2 variants to date,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said during a briefing Tuesday.

While experts are racing to understand the full ramifications of Omicron, the fact that it has so many mutations is unsettling. Though mutations are not inherently bad news, scientists are concerned that some of those in Omicron might make the virus more transmissible or resistant to immunity generated by vaccines or previous infections.

“The thing that got everyone’s attention was the large number of mutations — around 50, much larger than previous variants. And some, according to the molecular configuration, are anticipated to impact transmissibility and antibody binding,” Fauci said earlier this week.

It’s unclear, however, whether Omicron spreads as easily as the highly infectious Delta variant, which remains the dominant strain both in California and the U.S. Fauci said further clarity on those matters is probably still weeks away.

“Pending these data, the effect of this variant on transmission, severity of disease and how well current vaccines, treatments work remains speculative,” he said. What’s already known, though, was troubling enough for the World Health Organization to quickly designate Omicron a “variant of concern.”

“The emergence of the highly mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a video statement Monday.

The globe is “living through a cycle of panic and neglect” where “hard-won gains could vanish in an instant,” he said.

“We shouldn’t need another wake-up call,” he said. “We should all be wide awake to the threat of this virus.”

Times staff writer Chris Megerian contributed to this report.

Five Omicron variant cases identified in Northern California coronavirus outbreak

Authorities identified five mildly symptomatic COVID-19 cases involving the Omicron variant in Alameda County, public health officials announced Friday.The patients are among 12 coronavirus cases in the area traced to a Nov. 27 wedding in Wisconsin, which one of the patients attended after traveling abroad, according to the Alameda County Public Health Department.A state lab used genomic sequencing to ...

Authorities identified five mildly symptomatic COVID-19 cases involving the Omicron variant in Alameda County, public health officials announced Friday.

The patients are among 12 coronavirus cases in the area traced to a Nov. 27 wedding in Wisconsin, which one of the patients attended after traveling abroad, according to the Alameda County Public Health Department.

A state lab used genomic sequencing to identify the five Omicron variant cases, but officials said such testing was not yet available for the remaining seven coronavirus cases.

The patients are between the ages of 18 and 49, officials said. One person is a Berkeley resident; the remaining 11 are county residents.

All 12 people were vaccinated and most had received boosters, officials said. None was hospitalized.

Public health officials are notifying those who’ve been in close contact with the patients and providing isolation and quarantine guidance, authorities said.

“We don’t yet know how Omicron will impact a highly vaccinated region like the Bay Area,” the Public Health Department said in a statement. “We remind residents that vaccination continues to provide the best protection against severe illness from COVID-19 that could result in hospitalization and death.”

Officials continue to advise the public to get vaccinated, including booster shots if eligible; stay home if sick; wear a mask indoors; wash their hands; avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor settings; and get tested before and after any gatherings or travel, or if exposed to a positive case.

The disclosure came on the same day that San Diego County reported an uptick in coronavirus cases that health officials suspect is a result of Thanksgiving gatherings.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,153 cases on Thursday, up from counts in the 600s over the previous two days, officials said in a statement.

The uptick in cases is not believed to be due to the Omicron variant, which hasn’t been identified in San Diego County.

“The last time more than 1,150 cases were reported was Sept. 10, when 1,188 cases were identified,” officials said.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, a county deputy public health officer, said he suspected more increases in coronavirus cases will probably occur in the coming months because of holiday gatherings.

“Unfortunately, rises like these after holidays are not unexpected,” Kaiser said in a statement. “We are vigilant for any changes in cases that Omicron might cause, but we’ve seen similar spikes like this in the past.”

Omicron has also been detected in recent travelers who live in Los Angeles County and San Francisco. Both were vaccinated, and neither person needed to be hospitalized.

Why California isn’t planning new lockdowns or restrictions for the Omicron variant

When the new Omicron variant became known last week, there was anxiety about whether it would lead governments to consider new restrictions just as the holidays arrived.And while the variant has now been detected in C...

When the new Omicron variant became known last week, there was anxiety about whether it would lead governments to consider new restrictions just as the holidays arrived.

And while the variant has now been detected in California, officials say that they don’t think they’ll need to implement significant new restrictions, saying travel plans can be pursued and policies already in place around masks and vaccine verification are the best path for combatting the new strain of the coronavirus.

“This has been an extraordinarily long and challenging time, and people are right to feel fatigued,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “I think the best way to put all of this in perspective is we actually have a lot more powerful tools at our hand right now than we did last year.”

Why this approach?

Officials are quick to note that the state of the pandemic is much different this year, given the ample supply and availability of vaccines, which are expected to provide at least some degree of protection against Omicron, particularly against severe illness and death.

Also on the horizon is the likely authorization of pills that can reduce the risk of severe disease.

The basic strategy remains getting more unvaccinated people — including young children — their shots and encouraging eligible vaccinated adults to get boosters.

“Boosters are absolutely essential, particularly for people who got vaccinated a while ago,” Ferrer said.

Bay Area health officials echoed those beliefs.

“There’s lots of questions regarding how transmissible is it, how easy does it spread. … However, here’s what’s important to know: We have so many tools now that we’ve not had in other parts of the pandemic. And we know how to use them,” Dr. Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County health officer and director of public health, told KTVU-TV.

“I actually think that we are in a far better place facing this new unknown than at any other time in the pandemic,” Cody said.

In a briefing Wednesday after the first case of the Omicron variant was reported in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said there was no reason to assume that future lockdowns were in store for the state.

“I see no indication at this moment whatsoever that that’s in our immediate future as long as we continue our nation-leading efforts,” the governor said, noting that residents’ decisions will “determine our fate and future.”

In a joint statement, the California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health said vigilance against the variant is necessary, but its arrival in the state is “not a cause for panic.”

“We recognize that everyone is exhausted, and the news of a new variant can be overwhelming,” the statement said. “It is important that we collectively focus on the things we know prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Individuals should get vaccinated and boosted; wear your mask in indoor settings; get tested if you have symptoms; and stay home if you are sick.”

Vaccinations are key weapon

Health officials have long stressed the importance of taking a layered approach to combating the coronavirus. While wearing masks in public, avoiding indoor crowded settings and, especially, getting vaccinated all afford some degree of protection, those tools work best when used together.

“We need people to be sensible and cautious, and we’re going to pay a lot of attention to the science,” Ferrer said. “Obviously, if there’s emerging information that requires us to rethink the safety messaging, we’ll be coming back both to the board and to the public.”

Demand is so high for booster shots in Marin County that some residents are reporting difficulty getting an appointment this week from local pharmacies. KGO-TV reported that one pharmacy in Marin County ran out of vaccine on Friday, forcing appointments to be canceled through Sunday.

“This is a logistical issue. The demand has increased so quickly that not all of our pharmacies have been able to keep up with that demand, in terms of just getting supplies through the regional distribution networks,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s health officer, told KGO-TV. The TV station quoted Walgreens and CVS as saying they were working on replenishing stores with more shots.

Officials hope demand for the vaccine — and booster shots — grows across the state this week amid the new Omicron threat.

Nearly 64% of Californians are fully vaccinated, according to The Times’ vaccine tracker, but that figure is too low to curb an expected fifth surge of COVID-19 this winter. There has been an uptick in demand for shots among 5- to 11-year-olds, and interest in booster shots is rising, but authorities are concerned about lackluster rates of vaccination among young adults.

Early demand for the COVID-19 vaccine for young children has been startlingly uneven in California, with some areas embracing the shots and others much slower to accept them, a Times data analysis last week found.

Meanwhile, the percentage of vaccinated Los Angeles County residents who have gotten COVID-19 booster shots is significantly lower in poorer neighborhoods than other areas.

A ‘no snow’ California could come sooner than you think

It was 55 degrees and sunny Thursday at Sugar Bowl Resort, where the opening day of the 2021 ski season — already delayed because of warm weather — was still listed as “TBD.”“Winter hasn’t quite arrived in Tahoe yet,” officials wrote in a note about the postponement. “The team will be working nightly and ready to flip the switch when Mother Nature cooperates.”But the mountai...

It was 55 degrees and sunny Thursday at Sugar Bowl Resort, where the opening day of the 2021 ski season — already delayed because of warm weather — was still listed as “TBD.”

“Winter hasn’t quite arrived in Tahoe yet,” officials wrote in a note about the postponement. “The team will be working nightly and ready to flip the switch when Mother Nature cooperates.”

But the mountain isn’t the only place feeling the pinch from lack of snow. A new study led by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that dwindling snowpack across California and the western United States could shrink dramatically more — or in some cases disappear — before the end of the century.

The study, published recently in the journal Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, paints a worrisome picture of the “potentially catastrophic consequences” of a future with less snow, including the massive implications it holds for California’s water supply, as well as rippling effects on soil, plants, wildlife and even the increased frequency of wildfire.

Should greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, the study found, winters of low snow, or even no snow, could become a regular occurrence in as little as 35 years.

The projections “are a little bit shocking,” said Alan Rhoades, a hydroclimate research scientist and co-author of the study. “As a kid who grew up in the Sierra, it’s kind of hard to fathom a low- to no-snow future.”

In many ways, the changes have already begun. California this year experienced its hottest summer on record, while Los Angeles and San Diego both just saw their driest Novembers in decades. The entire state is also under a drought emergency.

But the paper is the first to synthesize “any and every available study” of future snowpack projections to construct a more confident timeline, said Erica Siirila-Woodburn, a research scientist at the Berkeley Lab and another co-author of the study.

Many of the worst effects will be felt in California, she said, where snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges could decline 45% by 2050, compared with about 25% in other western ranges such as the Rockies and the Wasatch-Uinta.

Jeffrey Mount, a water scientist at the Public Policy Institute of California who did not work on the study, said that level of snow loss could fundamentally alter life in the Golden State, where mountains have historically served as a critical resource for regional water supplies by capturing, storing and releasing moisture downstream.

“Believe me, we all read it,” Mount said of the study, noting that California has “built an entire water supply system around the reliable appearance of snowpack in our mountains.”

Crucially, he said, the steady, slow melting of snow each spring and summer has long acted like a time-release that provides more water at a moment when precipitation tends to stop and demand begins to surge.

Snowpack on April 1, when it is typically its deepest, was only 60% of its average this year, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

“If the snow is not going to melt off in the spring like it used to, we’ve got some major challenges for how we operate our reservoirs,” Mount said, “because it’s all built around them. Everything’s built around them.”

But snow loss won’t affect only water supplies. The researchers described a “cascade of implications” that could shift the state’s soil, plants and wildlife and also negatively affect forest productivity and ecological health. It could also increase the risk for flash floods and debris flows, as well as the prevalence and severity of wildfires, they said.

“It’s hard to disentangle this really interconnected system, in terms of all these different places where water hooks to different parts of the environment,” Siirila-Woodburn said. “It’s really this holistic system that we have to think about jointly.”

The researchers defined “low snow” as when the snowpack (or snow water equivalent) falls below the 30th percentile of the historical peak. “No snow” is when that number falls below the 10th percentile.

California has already seen bouts of both, such as when snowpack in the Sierra dropped to an unprecedented 5% of normal in 2015. But the state could start to experience “episodic periods” — or five consecutive years — of low to no snow as soon as the late 2040s, researchers said.

Persistent periods, or 10 consecutive years, of low-to-no snow could arrive in California by the 2060s. In other parts of the western U.S., persistent periods don’t emerge until the 2070s.

“We can maybe manage around two years, three years of low- to no-snow,” Rhoades said, “but when you start to get five years ... or that persistent 10 years, I think that starts to undermine some of the historical management strategies that have been used.”

The reasons for snow loss are myriad, but most are tied to climate change. Warming temperatures mean more precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow — and rain has less water storage potential than its colder counterpart, Rhoades said.

What’s more, many of the storms that do bring moisture to California come across the warm Pacific, while other ranges such as the Rockies get colder storms that move in from the northern Arctic. And with a lower average elevation than some other western ranges, the Sierra also have a harder time maintaining snow levels.

The researchers hoped their findings could be a “call to action” that will spur residents, policymakers and innovators to elevate snow loss to the level of other climate hazards like sea level rise and wildfires, which tend to make more headlines, they said.

“This isn’t some hypothetical make-believe future,” Siirila-Woodburn said, noting that snowpack in the region has already decreased by about 20% since 1950 — the equivalent of the storage capacity of Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir. “This is something that’s already happening now.”

One high-emission climate model used in the study found that as few as 8% of the years between 1950 and 2000 would be classified as having low to no snow in the western United States. Between 2050 and 2099, that number could soar as high as 94%.

But there are solutions, including water conservation, infrastructure investments, desalination and, crucially, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers said. Aggressive forest management will also play a key role because less dense forests allow for deeper snowpack.

John Andrew, deputy director of climate resilience at the California Department of Water Resource, said via email that it will require an “all of the above” approach to slow the trend.

“With a state as diverse as California, there is simply no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution — it will take a portfolio of diverse strategies, implemented primarily at the regional level,” Andrew said.

“That said, there is obviously a high priority currently on responding to the drought, with a particular emphasis on assisting small, rural communities that do not have access to safe and affordable drinking water,” he added.

Also of critical importance are adaptation strategies, including techniques to store excess surface water underground for later use, the researchers said.

Forecast-informed reservoir operations, which use weather and water forecasts to inform decisions about retaining or releasing water from reservoirs, also show promising signs of increasing water storage in California.

Yet there is still much to be done. In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom allocated more than $5 billion of his $15-billion climate package toward drought response and water resilience — but in the same month, Californians backslid in their efforts to conserve water.

“Decreasing snowpack is one of several challenges facing California water managers, including aging infrastructure and declining ecosystem health,” Andrew said, adding that “water conservation should be a way of life in California.”

Still, the researchers said they hoped their study would inspire less “doom and gloom” and more discussion of solutions — particularly since their findings were primarily based on a high-emission scenario that is not yet inevitable.

Water managers and policymakers have already reached out about incorporating the study’s findings into their work, they said.

But though budgets, infrastructure, legislation and conservation can all be improved upon, the necessary conditions for that Sierra snow Rhoades played in as a kid are admittedly harder to come by in a warming world.

Unfortunately, he said, “the freezing point of water is non-negotiable.”


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