Washington News: US President Joe Biden has declared an emergency in California as winter storms continue to pummel the most populous state in the country. According to a statement released by the White House late Monday, Biden has ordered federal assistance to supplement California, tribal and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from successive and severe winter storms, flooding and mudslides. The federal emergency declaration will authorize the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.
On January 4, California Governor Gavin Newsom had decalred an emergency for the entire state which is home to around 40 million residents, due to the severe winter storms. He submitted a request on Sunday to the White House for a presidential emergency declaration to support ongoing storm response and recovery efforts in the state.
Since late December, 12 people have died from storm-related impacts, including flooding, more than the number of civilians who lost their lives to wildfires in the past two years combined, according to a statement released by the governor`s office. “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 in the statement. Winter storms continued to hit California with heavy rains, causing flooding, road closures and power outages in many regions across the state. “California is expecting a stronger and more widespread atmospheric river that will bring strong winds, heavy rain, and thunderstorms,” the Governor`s office tweeted on Monday, adding that “this is serious — stay safe, make the necessary preparations, and limit non-essential travel”.
Nearly 100,000 homes and businesses in California were still without power as of Monday, according to PowerOutage.us, a website which collects live power outage data from utilities all over the country. Tens of thousands of people across Northern California are dealing with continued power outages on Monday, as heavy rain and strong winds caused issues on roadways but spared the region from widespread devastation.
Many school districts across the region and some individual schools facing power outages have canceled classes for Monday. Nearly all of California has seen much above average rainfall totals over the past several weeks, with totals 400-600 percent above average values. Thousands of people were ordered to immediately evacuate Southern California’s Montecito on Monday. All residents in the community in Santa Barbara County were urged to “leave now” by local officials as “the heaviest rain is yet to come this afternoon and evening”.
(With IANS Inputs)
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