Dear Mr. President:
We write to support the State of California's request for a major disaster declaration for the widespread damage and flooding caused by atmospheric river storm systems sweeping the state beginning in February 2019.
These extraordinarily severe atmospheric river storm systems broke at least 51 daily precipitation records throughout the state and brought high winds, mud and debris flows, erosion, dangerous flooding, and damage to critical infrastructure including levees and county roads. A joint federal, state, and local preliminary damage assessment began on March 2, 2019; damages are expected to exceed $100 million for the February 13-15 storm system, and $57 million for the February 24-March 1 storm system.
Reflecting the statewide damage from these storm systems, Governor Gavin Newsom requested that you declare a major disaster on April 13, 2019, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 93-288), including hazard mitigation statewide and public assistance for the counties of Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolomne, and Yolo.
It is clear that a major disaster declaration is necessary, and that federal assistance programs should be made available, so that our communities can recover from the flood damage that has overwhelmed state, local, and tribal response capacity.
We strongly support the State of California's request for a major disaster declaration in the areas affected by atmospheric river storms this year. We appreciate your full and fast consideration of this request, and stand ready to expedite support and resources to the impacted communities.