1 of 3 | President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for California late Sunday as schools closed and 130,000 people were without power amid the latest winter storms in the state. Photo courtesy of California Department of Water Resources/Twitter
Jan. 9 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for California late Sunday as schools closed and 130,000 people were without power amid the latest winter storms in the state.
Biden ordered federal assistance to help local response efforts to the "severe winter storms, flooding, and mudslides" beginning Sunday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had asked Biden to issue the emergency declaration earlier Sunday as his state reels from a series of storms that have led to the deaths of at least 12 people during subsequent flooding.
Nearly 130,000 customers were without power Monday morning, with the majority of outages in the northwestern part of the state. More than 80,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers were without power alone.
"Weather system delivering significant precipitation and heavy winds," PG&E said in a statement on Twitter.
"As with last weekend's storm, flooding, downed trees and road closures may impact timely restoration. Customers are strongly urged to prepare for potential extended outages."
Several school districts in the state canceled classes for Monday, including the Sacramento City Unified School District.
"The continued severe storms impacting the Sacramento area have left at least six of our schools without electricity and we do not expect that power will be restored by tomorrow morning," SCUSD officials said in a statement on Facebook on Sunday.
"That fact, combined with the expected strong winds and heavy rain overnight, make it necessary to close all campuses 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, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District and Galt Joint Union High School District -- and several other individual grade schools and community colleges.
Sacramento County officials ordered residents of Wilton to evacuate because of the risk of flooding, according to a news release. El Dorado County has also issued an evacuation warning.
"Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should consider leaving now," the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Sunday.
Officials in Sonoma County also issued evacuation warnings to thousands of residents living near the Russian River floodway.
The storms battering California since Dec. 27 are called atmospheric rivers, which the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration defines as a long, narrow region in the atmosphere that transports moisture from the tropics and can release large amounts of rain and snow on landfall.
Modeling from state climatologists predicts significant if not historic flooding to impact counties such as Merced, Monterey, Sacramento and Santa Clara, among others.
"We're working under conditions of intense saturation such that even moderate levels of rainfall can produce significant flooding impacts," Karla Nemeth, the director of the California Department of Water Resources, said in a statement Sunday.
"We're working closely w/ local county offices of emergency services to make sure communities are prepared."