Environment & Science

Riverside County declares local emergency following storms

File: Waters rush under an the elevated portion of westbound Interstate 10.
File: Waters rush under an the elevated portion of westbound Interstate 10.
Chief Geoff Pemberton/AP

On Friday Feb. 10, California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement saying that he had requested assistance from President Donald Trump to "bolster ongoing state and local recovery efforts following January storms." Brown also added Riverside, Amador and Mono counties to the 49 counties included in his post-storm emergency proclamation. 

The Riverside County Board of supervisors has declared a local emergency following January's winter storms.

Brooke Federico, a spokesperson for the Riverside County Emergency Management Department, called it a "precautionary measure" that would enable local officials to secure funding for damage relief operations. The declaration also authorizes the county's supervisors to apply for state and federal reimbursement once the county's damage repair costs exceed $7.9 million, Federico told KPCC.

When California Gov. Jerry Brown issued his Jan. 23 emergency proclamation, securing relief funding for 49 California counties following the storms, Riverside's name was not included on the list. Meanwhile, a series of swift water rescues, major communications system failures, road closures and severe flooding continue to affect thousands of the county's residents, according to the declaration.

The local declaration won't guarantee the county damage relief funding right away. Riverside County is nowhere near the $7.9 million threshold, Federico said. In the meantime, the county's Emergency Management Department will keep a running tab of damage costs to all roads, schools and homes.

The declaration was also forwarded to the governor's office, with a request to include Riverside County among the 49 counties in his Jan. 23 proclamation, Federico said.

"It's up to the governor's discretion," Federico said. "It's up for him to review."

Flooding is the most common disaster that Riverside County faces, Federico said, adding that the county is already preparing for another storm this weekend. 

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