SALINAS (United States): US President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in California, as the latest in a succession of storm systems blew into the state, bringing heavy flooding to already waterlogged regions.
“Waves of heavy precipitation continue to batter California,” said the National Weather Service (NWS) on Twitter.
“Heavy rain will continue bringing the threat of flooding and mudslides/landslides. Hazardous travel due to heavy mountain snow and blowing snow from (California) to (Colorado).”
Much of the town of Felton in the north of the state was under water Saturday, as it had been on New Year’s Day and again Monday.
“I’m so angry, it just makes me want to cry,” said Camilla Shaffer, a Briton whose house flooded for the third time in two weeks.
Amberlee Galvin, a chef at a local restaurant, was another victim, her front room entirely inundated.
“Within 10 minutes it had flooded completely to the ceiling. It happened crazy fast,” the 23-year-old said. “We had to get canoed out by a neighbor.”
“I hope this isn’t the new normal,” sighed Melissa Foley, pushing a wheelbarrow full of cleaning kits donated by the Red Cross, which she distributes to her neighbors.
Late Saturday, Biden “declared that a major disaster exists in the State of California and 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 declaration makes federal funding available for relief to affected people, including temporary housing and repairs.
At least 19 people are known to have died from storm-related causes in the last three weeks.