California: Biden declares a state of emergency as schools close, 130,000 without power

Biden declares a state of emergency in California as schools close, 130,000 without power amid storms.

President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for California late Sunday as schools closed and 130,000 people lost power amid the state's recent winter storms.

Biden ordered federal aid to aid local response efforts to "severe winter storms, floods and mudslides" starting Sunday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had asked Biden to issue the emergency declaration earlier Sunday as his state was reeling from a series of storms that killed at least 12 people during subsequent flooding.

Nearly 130,000 customers lost power Monday morning, with most outages in the northwestern part of the state. More than 80,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers were without electricity alone.

"As with the storm this past weekend, flooding, downed trees, and road closures may affect timely restoration. We strongly urge customers to prepare for possible extended outages."

Several state school districts canceled Monday classes, including the Sacramento City Unified School District.

"Continuing severe storms affecting the Sacramento area have left at least six of our schools without power, and we do not expect power to be back on by tomorrow morning," SCUSD officials said in a Facebook statement Sunday.

"This fact, along with the expected strong winds and heavy rain overnight, makes it imperative that all campuses close for the day for the safety of our students and staff."

The Stockton Unified School District also announced it would close Monday, as well as the River Delta Unified School District, the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, and the Galt Joint Union High School District — and several unified elementary schools and community colleges.

According to a press release, Sacramento County officials ordered Wilton residents to evacuate due to the risk of flooding. El Dorado County also issued an evacuation warning.

"Those who need additional time to evacuate and who have pets and livestock should consider leaving now," the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Sunday.

Officials in Sonoma County also issued evacuation warnings to thousands of residents who live near the Russian River.

The storms hitting California since Dec. 27 are called atmospheric rivers. The National Oceanic Administration defines a long, narrow area in the atmosphere that transports moisture from the tropics and can dump large amounts of rain and snow on land.

Modeling from state climate scientists predicts significant, if not historic, flooding to affect counties like Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, and Santa Clara, among others.

"We are operating under such extreme saturation conditions that even moderate levels of precipitation can lead to significant flooding," California Department of Water Resources director Carla Nemeth said in a statement Sunday.

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