Biden tours beach town damaged by massive California storms - Albuquerque Journal

Biden tours beach town damaged by massive California storms

CAPITOLA, Calif. (AP) — President Joe Biden walked along the splintered boardwalk of this picture-postcard California beach town Thursday and heard from business owners struggling to repair damage to their shops after deadly storms caused devastation across the region and killed more than 20 people statewide.

Biden toured a gutted seafood restaurant and the badly flooded Paradise Beach Grille, not far from the collapsed Capitola Pier and the brightly painted pink, orange and teal shops that were all boarded up following the storms. Walls were crumbling, debris scattered everywhere and floors swept away by raging waters.

Paradise Beach Grille Owner Chuck Maier told Biden that water had gushed up from the floor and swamped his business on Monterey Bay not far from Santa Cruz. “No kidding,” Biden exclaimed.

“You don’t feel it until you walk the streets,” Biden said later from nearby Seacliff State Park, speaking about how bad the damage was and blaming climate change for the severity of the weather. “If anybody doubts the climate is changing, they must have been asleep for the last couple of years.”

Flanked by first responders, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell, the president highlighted the damage from the punishing rains, powerful winds, floods and landslides. He warned climate change would create more extreme weather.

“We know some of the destruction is going to take years to rebuild,” Biden said. “But we’ve got to not just rebuild, but rebuild better.”

From Dec. 26 to Jan. 17, California was deluged by 11.47 inches of rain and snow on average across the state, according to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, with some reports of up to 15 feet of snow in the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada.

California gets much of its rain and snow in the winter from a weather phenomenon known as “atmospheric rivers” — long, narrow bands of water vapor that form over the ocean and flow through the sky.

California has been hit by nine atmospheric rivers since late December. The storms have relented in recent days. Forecasters were calling for light rain toward the end of this week followed by a dry period.

Criswell said Thursday on the trip from Washington that the president and staff have to be mindful of what people have been through when traveling to places devastated by storms and other natural disasters.

“There has just been so much trauma to this community and it’s really important that we keep that in mind,” she said. “These communities have had loss of life, loss of their well-being and their livelihood, and I think it’s incredibly important that they know that the president is here to support them and that the full force of the federal family is going to be behind them.”

Biden has already approved a major disaster declaration for the state, freeing additional federal resources for recovery efforts. Hours before the visit, he raised the level of federal assistance available even higher.

More than 500 FEMA and other federal personnel have been deployed to California to support the emergency operations. Thousands of bystanders gathered for the president’s visit and cheered him as he toured the boardwalk.

Newsom praised the fast federal response, but warned the threat remains high in a state that just a few years ago suffered devastating drought and is now facing record rainfall.

“The scale and scope of these floods is hard to understand unless you get out, and that’s why I couldn’t be more grateful to the president for taking the time to come out again.”

___

Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Seth Borenstein in Washington and Adam Beam in Sacramento, California, contributed to this report.

Home » News » Nation » Biden tours beach town damaged by massive California storms

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
'Early Show with Alax': In new program, an alien ...
ABQnews Seeker
The state's Early Childhood Education Department ... The state's Early Childhood Education Department is producing a program designed to inform families with little ones. Here's how to watch.
2
Stansbury votes on crutches after breaking foot
ABQnews Seeker
Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury cast votes on ... Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury cast votes on the House floor Thursday on crutches. The New Mexico Democrat for more than a week has been walking ...
3
Legislative proposal aims to amplify NM arts economy
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico would establish a new ... New Mexico would establish a new economic development agency — backed by $67 million in state funds — to support artists and creative entrepreneurs ...
4
Blvck Hippie brings rhythmic riffs and deep lyrics to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Blvck Hippie is set to share ... Blvck Hippie is set to share experiences and moments with the Albuquerque crowd.
5
New public safety council to address organized retail crime ...
ABQnews Seeker
SANTA FE - Citing concerns about ... SANTA FE - Citing concerns about organized retail crime, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced ...
6
Threats over high natural gas bills shutter Deming City ...
ABQnews Seeker
The city of Deming's municipal offices ... The city of Deming's municipal offices were abruptly closed to the public Wednesday morning in response to threats against city staff after shockingly high ...
7
Pojoaque alums present anti-pest product on ABC reality show ...
ABQnews Seeker
At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, ... At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, the Pojoaque High School alums will take their product called Slick Barrier to "Shark TanK,", which airs on ...
8
New Mexico tax unit leader believed to have stolen ...
ABQnews Seeker
George Martinez was sentenced to 8 ... George Martinez was sentenced to 8 years in prison and will be ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution. However, prosecutors say ...
9
Bernalillo County identifies two who died in jail this ...
ABQnews Seeker
The two people who died in ... The two people who died in custody of the Metropolitan Detention Center within 10 days of one another this month have been identified as ...
10
New public safety council to address organized retail crime ...
ABQnews Seeker
SANTA FE - Citing concerns about ... SANTA FE - Citing concerns about organized retail crime, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced ...