CA Delegation Urges FEMA to Reconsider Major Disaster Declaration for Storm-Battered Counties

Congressman Mike Thompson


Representing California’s 1st Congressional District







July 26, 2011




Caroline Hogan 202-226-7364





WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have joined Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-CA), Wally Herger (R-CA), and 26 other House members in a bipartisan letter urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reverse its denial of a major disaster declaration for numerous California counties hit by a severe storm system earlier this year. The bipartisan letter comes less than two weeks after Governor Jerry Brown formally appealed FEMA’s decision to deny federal assistance for affected communities.
In their letter, the Members of Congress highlighted the significant and costly damages caused by the storm system, which swept through Alameda, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Stanislaus, Sutter, Trinity, and Tuolumne counties in March. Current estimates of the damage now exceed $51 million, causing significant financial strain to the state and impacted local communities.
In total, 30 California Delegation Members who represent communities affected by the March storm system signed on to the bipartisan Congressional Delegation letter, including: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA), Rep. Dan Lungren (D-CA), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Brian Bilbray (D-CA), Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA). A copy of their letter to FEMA and President Obama is available below:


Dear Mr. President:
“We write to you in strong support of the State of California’s appeal regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to deny a major disaster declaration and provide federal assistance to address the damages sustained from the severe storm system that struck California in March 2011.

“Between March 15 and 27, 2011, a severe storm system struck California bringing heavy rain and snow, high winds and flooding, destroying and damaging property throughout the state.  Seventeen counties in our state were hit hard by this storm system including Alameda, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Stanislaus, Sutter, Trinity, and Tuolumne. 

“We understand that a Stafford Act major disaster declaration for a storm event is limited to (1) a single storm, or (2) a series of storms that are deemed to be part of the same storm system that impact the same geographical areas, such that the impacts from the separate storms are indistinguishable, and are separated by three days or less.  According to the National Weather Service and the California Department of Water Resources, the damages sustained were from a single low pressure storm system which set up over the region for two weeks shifting from north to south and back again across the state.   This is consistent with the second category for a qualifying storm event.  Furthermore, these conditions are similar to other weather-related federal disasters declaration in 1986, 1997, 1998, 2004/2005 and 2010.
“Current estimates of the damage caused by the storm system now exceed $51 million, causing significant financial impacts to the state and the affected local jurisdictions that are beyond their capabilities.  Many of us have had the opportunity to view the damage in our communities first-hand, and it is clear that a major disaster declaration is critical to helping our state recover from this devastating storm system. 
“Therefore, we strongly support the State of California’s appeal regarding a major disaster declaration and federal disaster assistance related to the March 2011 storm system. We appreciate your consideration of this request, and we stand ready to assist you in expediting support and resources to the impacted communities throughout California.”


Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and portions of Sonoma and Yolo counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and Co-Chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.


March 2011 Spring Storm System Appeal Letter.pdf

Leave a Comment