MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Governor Gavin Newsom arrived in Merced Saturday afternoon to see the impact of the surrounding areas that have been devastated by flooding due to the record rainfall.
“The reality is that this is the eighth of what we anticipate to be nine atmospheric rivers; we’re not done,” Newsom said.
His itinerary included talking with residents affected by the previous rains, and he spoke in a press conference to highlight the preparedness measures the State has already taken. One measure he highlighted included activating Emergency Operations Center in advance of the storms.
Around Merced County, especially in the flooded and hard-hit communities of Planada and Merced, preparations were still being made for the storms coming over the next few days.
On Cooper Avenue, off Highway 59 in Merced, firefighters say as of Friday, some areas are still six feet of water.
More than 5,000 homes in the City of Merced have been flooded and 1,600 people have been forced to leave their homes.
Governor Newsom urges Merced County residents to stay strong and weather the incoming storm.
“I’m very mindful that people are fatigued about evacuation orders. people are fatigued by seeing Caltrans signs saying detour they are just fatigued generally,” he said.
He says although the incoming rain might not be as strong as previous it can still be dangerous.
“The challenges will present themselves… because the ground is overwhelmed what may appear less significant in terms of the rain may actually be more significant.”
The governor is now asking President Biden’s for help.
“The question we are asking the major disaster declaration and my hope and expectation is we will because that’s the expectation of the president.”
The major disaster declaration would give those affected by the flood money for rent, home repairs, property damage, and much more.
Until the emergency disaster declaration comes through, however, those affected by the flood will have to rely on their own insurance.