Governor’s declaration allows Los Angeles County to get reimbursed

The recent winter storms that hit the state left a trail of disaster in its wake which included snowed in communities, major roadways shut down and stranded people being rescued. The storm also affected Los Angeles County but not as severely.

However, authorities don’t know yet the full extent of damage the storms wrought in Los Angeles County.

“The county is currently assessing all damages incurred as a result of the storms,” said Steven Frasher, spokesman for Los Angeles County Public Works.

One impact has primarily been on the county’s roads, mountain canyon roads and highways, according to Kevin McGowan, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management.

There has been flooding, rockfall on a mountain road, and potholes, he said.

Not just roads were affected. Some areas saw flooding. Some mud and debris affected homes, McGowan said.

Los Angeles County is among the 13 counties where Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared a state of emergency due to the storms.

Also on Wednesday, Janice Hahn, who chairs the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, signed a local emergency proclamation. It will come before the board on March 7.

“By declaring a local emergency and state declaration, it allows the county to expeditiously respond and seek disaster assistance programs that are available,” McGowan said.

Frasher said the governor’s proclamation will allow the county to pursue state reimbursement of storm damages to infrastructure throughout its communities. County officials do not have an amount yet.

The governor’s office and the governor’s Office of Emergency Services did not respond to emails and calls on Friday.

Public Works staff activate in advance of storms and coordinate with other county departments like fire, other agencies like the California Highway Patrol, local municipalities to prepare, according to Frasher.

Teams were out on patrol so the roads were kept clear, snow plows were used in the mountains, and they notified the public about closed roads, he said.

They had thought that the northern part of the county might get affected by the storm.

“While we were prepared for that, it did not pass,” Frasher said.

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