- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) - President Donald Trump on Thursday approved a disaster declaration for California to address damage from January storms that were part of the state’s extremely wet winter.

The action, in response to a request by Gov. Jerry Brown, makes federal funding available to state, local and tribal governments as well as certain nonprofit groups.

The assistance covers emergency work and repair or replacement of facilities damaged from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23 in 16 counties, and hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Counties named in the declaration included El Dorado, Kern, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Napa, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Trinity, Tuolumne and Yolo.

January saw California come under siege by powerful storms fed by a series of so-called atmospheric rivers, causing flooding and mudslides. More storms followed in February, continuing the damage while covering the Sierra Nevada with a massive snowpack.

Earlier requests by Brown for federal assistance to help with damage from early January storms and problems at the Oroville Dam, where the main spillway broke apart and an emergency spillway eroded, were granted previously.

The governor, meanwhile, has declared a state of emergency in almost all of California’s 58 counties.

Work to tabulate damage from storms through February is continuing, said Brad Alexander of the governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The White House says other declarations may be made later depending on damage assessments.

March has trended dry and warm - with a heat wave in Southern California that spiked into the 90s - but the National Weather Service said “the storm door will try to crack back open” this weekend, ushering in several rain systems during the week.

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