President Joe Biden has issued an emergency declaration for the state of California after a week of violent storms left 12 dead and caused catastrophic flooding.
The day the emergency declaration was announced, USA Today reported the National Weather Service is warning that more storms could produce an additional foot of rain over the next three days.
Biden’s declaration grants the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the authority to coordinate disaster relief efforts, according to a statement from the White House.
“Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct Federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding,” the White House says.
Biden’s emergency declaration came at the request of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a letter posted to the Governor’s Office website.
“We are in the middle of a deadly barrage of winter storms – and California is using every resource at its disposal to protect lives and limit damage,” said Newsom. “We are taking the threat from these storms seriously, and want to make sure that Californians stay vigilant as more storms head our way.”
California — we’re expecting another round of serious winter storms to hit tonight.
Strong winds. Heavy rain.
We’re in close contact with the @WhiteHouse to ensure we have the aid we need as we prepare on the ground.
Listen to warnings from local officials and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/0xjsRjfcMj
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 9, 2023
State officials are seeking help from the federal government for more personnel, resources to care for and shelter large numbers of people, as well as support for mass evacuation, equipment, and supplies, according to Newsom’s request to the White House.
As of Jan. 9, nearly 130,000 households are without power.
Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) says they have 4,000 dedicated people responding to the recent storms. The company is also planning to mobilize an additional 500 personnel and has begun pre-staging crews and resources throughout its service area to address any power outages as quickly as possible.
Sacramento County issued an evacuation order, warning residents that rising water could soon flood roadways and limit the ability for people to leave the area.