Trump approves FEMA disaster declaration for 34 California counties hit by storms

A portable toilet is submerged in floodwaters at a vineyard in Forestville.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The federal government has made money available to help dozens of California counties recover from a series of deadly storms that triggered floods, mudslides and avalanches statewide last month.

From Jan. 3 to 12, the state was pounded by a series of storms that buried the Sierra Nevada in snow and inundated low-lying towns along the Sacramento and Russian rivers. Several people died in weather-related incidents while a number of hillsides collapsed and closed off mountain passes.

Ultimately, 34 counties and the Hoopa Valley tribe sought federal assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. On Tuesday, the agency announced that up to 75% of the recovery costs could be covered by federal funds with additional assistance potentially available to prevent further damage.

More rain clouds are on the horizon.

A series of rainstorms are expected to arrive in the Sacramento Valley late Wednesday that could drop up to three inches of rain in the valley and eight inches in the mountains by the end of the week, the National Weather Service said.

The Sacramento River, which reached flood stage last week following a recent storm, is again expected to exceed its capacity on Thursday, according to the California Nevada River Forecast Center. Recreational activities along the river have been prohibited and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office was closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to flooding.


Another storm is lined up for Monday, forecasters say.

California is experiencing one of its wettest years on record with more than a month left in its traditional rainy season. The months of rain, preceded by more than five years of dry conditions, have pulled Northern California out of drought conditions and made a dent in Southern California’s drought.

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