Morro Bay flooding
Cars are seen submerged in flood waters in Morro Bay. Carolyn Krueger/via REUTERS

President Biden approved an emergency declaration for California on Saturday after storms have pounded the Golden State since Dec. 26, killing at least 19 people and bringing floods, power outages, mudslides, evacuations and road closures.

Biden ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides, the White House said in a statement.

The president’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties, it said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters earlier on Saturday he expected President Joe Biden to sign a major disaster declaration to help the state.

“These weather events have taken more lives in the last two years than wildfires,” Newsom said at a news conference on Saturday. “That’s how deadly they are.”

The storms have dropped half the average annual rainfall on the agricultural Central Valley and as much as 15 feet of snow in the mountains.

Flood advisories were in effect across the state on Saturday, and thousands of residents were under evacuation orders and warnings.

Reuters contributed to this article.


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Ellen Bullock