The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) has released a compelling 9-minute public education documentary that tells the story of the March 2011 storms, which was the third major disaster the state suffered at the start of this year. The video shows how relentless, heavy rains, paralyzing snow, and high winds impacted communities from California’s northern counties to the border with Mexico.

The haunting, low pressure system that parked itself over the Pacific Ocean last March punished the State, which had already endured a very long and wet winter. When it was all over, the state calculated more than $50 million in damages that left dozens of major roads impassable, the town of Capitola flooded and Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. forced to declare a state of emergency for 17 counties.

These damages were separate from the tsunami that also impacted several cities and counties during the same time period.

“It’s difficult for people to appreciate the sheer magnitude of this disaster because of the wide spread affects in different parts of the state,” said Mike Dayton, Acting Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency. “We decided the best way to educate people about this disaster was to document the impacts on video and talk to experts who explain how unusual, and powerful, this storm system really was.”

The video includes as-it-happened video footage of a major landslide on Nelson Road in Santa Cruz County, as well as home-video of flood waters raging through downtown Capitol, inundating their police department and emergency operations center. It also features in-depth interviews with an expert from the National Weather Service in Monterey; officials from the most affected county of Santa Cruz and state emergency managers.

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Since the storm of March 2011, many Californians have been wondering what will happen to their homes and property that were damaged during the heavy rains and snowstorms, high winds and debris flows. The California Emergency Management Agency’s (Cal EMA) Office of Public Information and Media Relations spoke to many of these devastated communities that stretched across the state and documented their journey in this short documentary.