Cash Stands Ready Rain or Shine

Meteorologists predicted that this year’s El Niño climate pattern would bring an onslaught of much-needed rain and snow to drought-stricken California. While storms haven’t hit the West Coast with the severity expected, Reserve Banks remain at the ready to get cash to commercial banks during any major weather events, right when it’s needed most.

A lot of people keep cash on hand just in case. Having a contingency fund is especially useful when storms knock out the power lines and telecommunication networks used to process credit card, debit card, and other electronic payments. If a person or business doesn’t have enough cash during these emergencies, they turn to local financial institutions. And that’s exactly why the Federal Reserve has business continuity plans for emergencies and natural disasters.

Mother Nature is both powerful and unpredictable, so we plan for disruptive events well in advance. Here are just a few things we do to address possible impacts to our operations:

  • Regularly assess and test business continuity plans
  • Share our practices with local financial institutions and their contracted armored carriers, and understand their plans
  • Hold a ready supply of currency in Federal Reserve Bank vaults across the nation that can be used to meet increased demand

Leading up to and during events, we also monitor weather conditions day-by-day and hour-by-hour, remaining in constant communication with local financial institutions and their armored carriers about how the event is affecting Reserve Bank cash operations.

Through hurricanes and other natural disasters, we’ve learned how important it is to plan ahead. For more information on how you and your family can prepare for severe weather events and emergencies, visit

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The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.