President Joe Biden said Thursday the federal government will work with California in the years of recovery that will be needed after unprecedented storms have ravaged the state in recent weeks.
“While the situation is still treacherous, we are cautiously optimistic that the worst is behind us,” Biden said after visiting some of the hardest-hit areas.
The amount of snow California has received, in addition to rain, means the state could experience more flooding if the snow melts quickly.
“It will be a concern during the snowmelt season,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, who accompanied Biden.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said the magnitude and scope of the three weeks of “mega-flooding” is difficult for many people to understand.
California has seen homes flooded, roofs ripped off houses, levees breached, cars flooded and trees uprooted.
Video:The weather in California is calming down, but the damage is extensive
- California has been ravaged by atmospheric river storms since late December, causing flooding, mudslides and landslides. At least 21 people have died. Newsom said there were more than 1,400 “heroic rescues”.
- Biden declared last week that there is an emergency in California, making federal funding available to multiple counties. More counties are expected to be included as damage assessment continues.
- Most counties had at least some damage from the staggering amount of rain and snow California received.
- Thousands of homes were severely damaged and many roads remain closed.
- The cost of the damage is expected to exceed $1 billion.
- In early January, Newsom declared a state of emergency across California to aid the continued response.
Where Biden went
Biden received an aerial view of the damage in Santa Cruz County. He met with residents and entrepreneurs in Capitola, California.
“Sorry man, we’re delaying your work,” Biden told a contractor as he looked at a restaurant’s sea-shredded floor.
At Seacliff State Park, Biden met with first responders and state and local officials.
More than 500 employees from FEMA and other federal agencies have been deployed to California to support response and recovery operations.
Trip is Biden’s third to California as president
Biden last visited the nation’s largest Democratic state in October as part of a West Coast swing to fundraise and rally Democrats for the 2022 election.
Biden also touted a bipartisan infrastructure package in Los Angeles and ordered a chicken quesadilla from a taco stand.
In his only other trip to California as president, Biden campaigned for Newsom ahead of the 2021 governor’s recall election.
Dig deeper: more flood coverage
Contributions: The The Bharat Express News