President Joe Biden touched down in California on Thursday to survey the devastation from the severe flooding that ravaged the Golden State at the start of the year. The president’s visit will also help him determine if the state needs additional federal support for recovery efforts.
According to reports, the president first landed Air Force One at Moffett Federal Airfield in Santa Clara County. He later visited areas in the state, such as Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. The counties sit along the coast in the central part of the state. There, storms and flooding turned people’s yards into moats, and landslides put homes in precarious positions.
While on board Marine One, Biden was joined by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., and Deanne Criswell, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as others. Together, they took an aerial tour of affected regions.
Later, the president took time to meet with Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Jimmy Panetta of California. He also met with Watsonville Mayor Eduardo Montesino.
President Joe Biden meets with California officials, residents to survey recent flooding following disaster declaration
According to reports, the president was scheduled to meet with local business owners and residents who saw the storm firsthand.
In addition, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre revealed to reporters Wednesday that Biden has been closely studying the situation in California.
She also said he is briefed by his homeland security team daily and has kept in touch with Gov. Newsom and other officials.
His visit to the Golden State comes after the current administration announced the president approved a disaster declaration for California. The declaration will concentrate federal funding on three severely impacted counties: Merced, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz.
In addition, the recent emergency declaration gives federal support for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and individual assistance for residences that the storms have impacted.
The federal government has deployed more than 500 FEMA and other personnel to help with the response and recovery operations.
According to an NBC News tally, California has been hit hard by a deluge of storms since late December. The storms have also taken the lives of 21 people.
Over the last three weeks, California has dealt with nine atmospheric rivers that dumped gallons of water across the state.
Along with the rain, high winds ripped up trees and knocked over power lines. As a result, hundreds of thousands of residents were without electricity.
Now, meteorologists cautioned residents that although the rainfall is expected to be light, it could still create issues. Experts say that overly saturated ground will not be able to withstand additional water, as tens of thousands remained under evacuation orders as of Monday.