President Biden declares major disaster in California for areas severely impacted by winter storms

ByBrianna Guillory KGO logo
Sunday, January 15, 2023
Biden declares major disaster in wake of California storms
The Biden Administration declared a major disaster in California, ordering federal aid to supplement recovery efforts for severe winter storms.

WASHINGTON D.C. (KGO) -- The Biden Administration announced on Saturday that it was declaring 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 and landslides that started at the end of December.

This makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties and include assistance for temporary housing, recovery, repairs and property loss that happened as a result of the recent series of winter storms in the state.

VIDEO: Gov. Newsom discusses statewide efforts on flood safety amid severe winter storms

He says the state government has mobilized resources to respond to flooding, power outages and major disasters.

"California is grateful for President Biden's swift approval of this critical support to communities reeling from these ongoing storms," said Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement released shortly after the emergency declaration. "We'll continue to work in lockstep with local, state and federal partners to help keep Californians safe and make sure our communities have the resources and assistance they need to rebuild and recover."

Federal funding also is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the same counties.

The administration also said that federal funding would be available "on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide."

MORE: California Storm live updates: Get the latest coverage on Bay Area preparation and recovery efforts here

A statement released by the governor's office read: "Amid ongoing storms and flooding, the state and its partners are working quickly to initiate recovery efforts and help Californians return home as soon as it is safe to do so. Work is underway to remove hazardous waste and clear debris and there are teams on the ground conducting damage assessments documenting the extent of the losses so that the state can maximize its requests for federal aid."

Earlier in the month, Newsom declared a State of Emergency throughout California and applied for federal aid.

Biden's team is currently conducting damage assessments in other affected areas of the state, which may result in additional areas being designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App.