President Heads to Northern California to Survey Storm Damage

January 19, 2023 by Dan McCue
President Heads to Northern California to Survey Storm Damage
People watch the high volume of storm rain water flowing downstream at the Los Angeles River in Los Angeles, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is traveling to Northern California today to view the damage left by a series of “atmospheric rivers” that have battered the state’s coast for the past nine weeks.

Biden left the White House aboard Marine One Thursday morning without taking questions from reporters.

He is scheduled to travel to San Jose and Santa Cruz, areas near the state’s Central Coast. 

The White House said in a statement Monday that the president would visit with first responders and state and local officials, survey recovery efforts and assess what additional federal support is needed.


Last Saturday evening, Biden declared a major disaster in the state and ordered federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts.

That aid will support debris removal, emergency protective measures, and individual assistance to survey whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by the storm.  

The administration has also deployed more than 500 Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal personnel to California to support response and recovery operations.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to bolster the state’s emergency storm response and help communities that suffered damage. 


This week has been something of a reprieve for the state’s residents, with mostly dry weather in the forecast for almost all of California.

The sun finally came out for a prolonged period on Monday in San Francisco, where 20.3 inches of rain has fallen at the city’s airport since Oct. 1, when California typically begins recording rainfall for the year. The average for the “water year” is 19.6 inches.

Across the bay in Berkeley, 10 homes were evacuated Monday when a sodden hillside collapsed, sending mud onto properties. 

At least 20 people have reportedly died of storm-related deaths since the onslaught of the storms. Officials estimate that repair costs could rise into the billions.

During a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Deanne Criswell, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would travel with the president to California, and that Newsom would be present for parts of the trip. 

The president is scheduled to return to the White House very early Friday morning.


Vice President Kamala Harris will be in Los Angeles later on Friday to “highlight the administration’s work to increase drought and flood resilience in partnership with California,” the White House said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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