The White House has declared emergencies in California and Alabama after both states were impacted by deadly weather that killed more than 20 people.
In California, heavy flooding since late last year has killed at least 19, damaged many homes and blocked highways.
Biden declares emergency
Biden’s order releases federal funding to help those in Merced, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz counties who have been impacted by “severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides beginning on December 27, 2022, and continuing.”
Meanwhile, Biden declared an emergency in Albama’s Autauga and Dallas counties after deadly tornadoes ripped through the southern U.S. last week, killing nine. The tornadoes dislodged roofs and trees, sent mobile homes flying and left tens of thousands without power in Alabama and Georgia.
At least 16,000 people in California were still without power this weekend and 26 million remained under flood watches as the state was hit with another deluge, the latest in a series of storms that have inundated the state since late December.
Storms pummel California
Desperate residents in the town of Felton, located in Santa Cruz County, were still recovering from two previous floods when a third struck on Saturday.
“It sucks,” Caitlin Clancy told Reuters. “And to go through it a third time, it’s just defeating.”
Nearly 20 have been reported dead from the storms in California, including a toddler who died when a redwood tree fell on his family’s trailer.
A five-year-old-boy remains missing after he was swept away by the flood in Central California’s San Luis Obispo County. The authorities said Sunday the search had resumed after the weather forced rescue crews to pause.
Democrats blame climate change
California’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom (D) has said the extreme weather reflects the apocalyptic effects of climate change.
“Hot’s getting a lot hotter,” Newsom said. “Dry’s getting a lot dryer. But the wet’s getting a lot wetter, as well.”
The state’s Republicans say the storms, which followed a long drought, are not anomalous and that Democrats failed to invest in the infrastructure needed to capture the heavy rainfall.
“We know this cycle occurs with regularity,” Assemblywoman Diane Dixon (R) said. “Why aren’t we prepared?”