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California’s storm recovery gets a boost from Gov. Newsom

Gov. Gavin Newsom surveys storm damage in restaurants in Capitola, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. | Nic Coury/AP Photo/POOL

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Monday to boost the emergency response to the deadly storms that walloped the state with floods, mudslides and untold billions of dollars in property damage.

The order allows the state to deploy a higher-than-usual number of first responders, waive fees to replace damaged or lost records and keep schools open in Merced County, which has been among the hardest hit areas of the state. 

The governor’s edict follows federal and state efforts to get California the money and help it needs to deal with the aftermath of extreme storms that killed at least 20 people. 

Over the past week, President Joe Biden approved a “major disaster declaration” and an “emergency declaration” for California, which unlocks federal funding and resources for the storm response.

The entire Bay Area is still under flood watch and a coastal flood advisory. Forecasters expect the storms to continue into next week, give or take some days of calm.  

Though the severe weather will likely dissipate in the coming week, flood risk remains high because weeks of near-constant downpours have saturated the soil.  

The National Weather Service said the historically wet weather pushed San Francisco pushed its water year total since last October to 20.3 inches, surpassing the city’s yearly average with eight months to go.

Kevin Truong can be reached at