Pedestrians are pelted with rain and wind as they make their way downtown on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Sacramento. Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, requesting a presidential disaster declaration “as a result of an atmospheric river storm system” Jan. 3, 2017 through Jan. 12, 2017. Renee C. Byer rbyer@sacbee.com
Pedestrians are pelted with rain and wind as they make their way downtown on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Sacramento. Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, requesting a presidential disaster declaration “as a result of an atmospheric river storm system” Jan. 3, 2017 through Jan. 12, 2017. Renee C. Byer rbyer@sacbee.com

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Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown requests presidential disaster declaration for January storms

By Jim Miller

jmiller@sacbee.com

February 10, 2017 06:59 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown has asked President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster for the state because of damage caused by powerful storms last month, with Friday’s request an initial step in seeking federal aid.

Brown’s letter to Trump cites an “atmospheric river storm system” that unleashed days of “relentless heavy precipitation” and high winds beginning Jan. 3, causing flash floods, power outages and damage to public works.

“The impacts associated with this series of storms were substantial and widespread, devastating much of California,” the letter reads. The storms, it said, contributed to eight deaths in seven counties.

The storms prompted Brown to declare a state of emergency in 49 counties Jan. 23. Friday, the governor added three counties to last month’s declaration: Amador, Mono and Riverside.

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In Friday’s letter, Brown said years of years of drought had left the ground unable to absorb “massive amounts of rainfall in such a short period of time.” The letter estimates that public assistance expenditures will exceed $162.3 million.

Some of the specific damages listed in the request letter:

▪ “Placer County Water Agency’s American River potable water intake facility suffered damage to four intake plates and siphoning screens, causing the headwall to be undermined and scouring to occur.”

▪ “Browns Valley Irrigation District’s Yuba River Diversion Channel reached capacity, requiring emergency excavation and dredging.”

▪ “Storm debris filled Lake Francis in Dobbins.”

▪ “Residents of Alta were isolated when a 110-foot long section of the only access road collapsed, causing serious risk to public health and safety.”