For Immediate ReleaseJanuary 10, 2023
Damage from atmospheric rivers prompts request for state aid
San Rafael, CA – With a unanimous vote by its Board of Supervisors, the County of Marin on Tuesday proclaimed a local state of emergency because of the severe impacts of recent storms.
The Board of Supervisors, convening for the first time in the new calendar year, ratified the proclamation after it was introduced by County Administrator Matthew Hymel as an urgency item on the agenda. The emergency proclamation covers storm impacts for the entire geographic county. It will be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom and the State of California Office of Emergency Services for consideration, and follows the Governor’s statewide proclamation January 4.
Counties statewide are reeling from a series of what the National Weather Service calls atmospheric rivers. Beginning December 27, 2022, heavy rains combined with saturated ground and high tides to cause neighborhood flooding, inundate roads, erode creek banks, prompt mudslides, knock out electrical power, topple trees, and endanger both lives and public and private infrastructure.
Damages have been heaviest in the West Marin community of Stinson Beach, where 45 residences have sustained water damage from the ocean’s storm surge and another 22 suffered structural damage. In addition, two County-maintained roads and eight non-County maintained roads were damaged but remain passable as of Tuesday.
Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber told the Board that local first responders are focused on preserving public safety and assisting the most vulnerable residents, including those with health issues who rely on electricity to survive. Rosemarie Gaglione, Director of County Public Works, said the Roads Division had responded to more than 800 emergency calls for service, managed 25 road closures, cleared 13 debris slides, and removed more than 100 trees from roadways.
“The storm door is not closed,” Weber told the Supervisors on Tuesday. “I’m getting briefings as I’m sitting here before you.”
A local declaration of emergency allows the County to exercise all necessary authority to protect lives and property and arrange for the restoration of resources with a minimum of interruption or delay. The declaration also allows the County to apply for state and possibly federal aid to reimburse the County for infrastructure repairs and other related expenses, and also paves the way for potential low-interest loans and other aid for private infrastructure damage. State law requires that a governing body that has declared a local state of emergency shall review the need for continuing the local emergency at least once every 60 days.
Marin residents are urged to stay away from the coastal areas to keep rural roads accessible for emergency responders. People should also avoid surging creeks, streams, flooded roadways, and fallen power lines while eliminating nonessential travel during periods of severe weather. Travelers are urged to monitor 511.org for updated information.
Floodwater needs to recede before the full extent of Marin’s damage can be accurately determined. Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service is giving all California storm victims – including those in Marin – an extension until May 15 to file various federal individual and business tax returns and to make tax payments. The extension covers 2022 individual income tax returns that are due April 18 and 2022 business returns due March 15 or April 18.
For more information, visit emergency.marincounty.org, which is maintained by personnel from the County’s recently activated Emergency Operations Center.
Jason WeberChiefMarin County Fire Department
33 Castle Rock Ave.Woodacre, CA 94973(415) 473-6717Email: Jason WeberMarin County Fire website