On Thursday in  California, Biden will be joined by California Governor Gavin Newsom, and members of the communities impacted by the storms that have caused severe flooding in the region. 

The storms are hitting the land with hurricane-strength winds, and, according to  Fema’s Administrator Deanne Criswell, this climate emergency is going to “cause an impact in a way we have not seen in a long time.”  

During a press gaggle on Air Force One, Criswell stated that the area has survived 9 atmospheric rivers in the past few weeks, with some parts witnessing an annual rainfall rate in only one day. Storms have caused severe flooding, and damage to roads, farmlands, businesses, and homes. The agricultural sector has been especially impacted by the severe climate. 

According to the White House, President Biden has been closely monitoring the disaster while in contact with Governor Newsom and other elected officials. 

In California, Biden will survey the damage across the Central Coast, discuss recovery efforts, and identify where federal support is needed. 

Yesterday, Biden authorized additional disaster assistance by increasing the federal share for degree removal and emergency protective measures to 100% of the total eligible cost for 60 days. 

On Saturday, the White House released an expedited major disaster declaration that provided federal support for degree removal, emergency protective measures, and individual assistance to survivors whose homes have been damaged by the storms. 

Responding to a question whether these weather conditions are the “new normal” given climate change, Criswell said that she has witnessed a steady increase in the number of disasters, which are leading to “very complex recoveries.” 

Criswell mentioned the government’s Infrastructure Bill, which aims to make communities more resilient to climate emergencies. The Bill granted “FEMA additional funding to “help these communities better understand what their future threats are and how they can prepare,” added Criswell. 

The FEMA Administrator also emphasized how important it is for the President to visit regions that are facing natural disasters as a way to connect with the communities that are experiencing traumatic events. 

The Office of Governor Newsome has confirmed that at least 20 people around the state have died due to the disaster. 

“These communities have experienced a loss of life, loss of their well-being. It is incredibly important for them to know that the President and the federal family support them,” said Criswell. 

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