WASHINGTON — President Biden will travel to deluged Northern California on Thursday to view the damage left by weeks of winter storms and assess how much federal aid may be needed to help the state recover.
Mr. Biden will travel to the San Jose and Santa Cruz areas near the state’s Central Coast, where flooding and mudslides have wrecked power lines, damaged homes and swallowed cars. At least 20 people have died, and officials estimate that repair costs could rise into the billions.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Wednesday that Deanne Criswell, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would travel with the president to California, and that Gavin Newsom, the governor, would be present for parts of the trip. Mr. Biden will meet with residents and emergency medical workers, and he is expected to spend some time surveying the damage by air, as he has done on recent trips to disaster areas.
Over the weekend, Mr. Biden expanded an earlier disaster declaration in California, which unlocked more federal money to assist in storm recovery efforts and speed up repairs, and over 500 FEMA officials are on the ground in the state, Ms. Jean-Pierre said.
Despite the heavy rainfall, California is still technically in a drought, and experts say the recent spate of storms will not fully reverse three years that have been the state’s driest on record.