President Trump Approves California Disaster Declaration for 17 Northern California Counties

By on May 22, 2019

Residents and businesses that endured extreme winter storms that pummeled Northern California counties in February received potentially good news late last week when President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of California. He ordered Federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the storms which resulted in flooding, landslides and mudslides from Feb. 13 to 15 and Feb. 24 to March 1 in 17 counties.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations in the Northern California counties of Amador, Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, and Tuolumne. Pete Gaynor, acting administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Benigno Bern Ruiz as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

California Governor Gavin Newsom had written Pres. Trump in April asking for the disaster declaration saying, “The storms caused widespread flash flooding, erosion, mud and debris flows, power outages, and damage to roadways and other critical infrastructure. In addition to the precipitation, heavy winds uprooted trees, impacting roads and power lines.”

Gov. Newsom’s letter also described the unprecedented precipitation in the citing at least 51 daily precipitation records throughout the state which had been broken. The storms caused widespread flash flooding, erosion, mud and debris flows, power outages, and damage to roadways and other critical infrastructure in addition to the heavy winds that uprooted trees and impacted roads and power lines.

An early assessment of the damage in Northern California by the state’s Offices of Emergency Service (OES) and its partners found extensive and widespread damage. The Russian River reached flood stage, resulting in mass flooding throughout the Russian River corridor and in local creeks and rivers in Sonoma County. Significant flooding in Guerneville resulted in the evacuation of thousands of residents and hundreds of homes were damaged. Flooding inundated the Cloverdale Municipal Airport adjacent to the Russian River as well as a water treatment facility in Cloverdale and part of the Sonoma Valley Hospital.

The approval of Federal funding will be made available to qualified, potential recipients on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.