Joe Biden declares emergency in California after state hit by severe winter weather

Homes and businesses have been destroyed in California  (AP)
Homes and businesses have been destroyed in California (AP)

Joe Biden declared a state of emergency across California after a week of storms destroyed infrastructure and killed at least 12 people.

The US President approved an emergency declaration that allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to co-ordinate disaster relief efforts and use emergency resources, the White House has said in a statement.

California has been battered by severe weather in the past 10 days that has knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the state.

In the last week, severe weather spawned violent wind gusts that toppled trucks, flooded the streets of small towns along northern California’s coast and churned up a storm surge that destroyed a pier in Santa Cruz.

Images from the worst-affected areas show giant trees that have toppled over, ripped up concrete footpaths and destroyed nearby homes.

A large tree fell during rainstorms in Sacramento, California (REUTERS)
A large tree fell during rainstorms in Sacramento, California (REUTERS)

More than 120,000 homes and businesses were still without power in California on Monday, according to data from PowerOutage.us.

At least 12 fatalities have been reported from weather-related incidents in California in the past 10 days, Governor Gavin Newsom told a news conference. Among the victims was a toddler who was killed by a redwood tree that fell and crushed a mobile home in northern California.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service warned that northern and central California were still in the path of a “relentless parade of cyclones”, promising little relief for the region until the middle of the week.

The heavy rain and snow have caused significant flooding, with the next storm to move through this week set to bring an additional flood threat, the National Weather Service said.

“More than 4,100 crews along with resources are staged throughout our service area, including regions most impacted by the storms,” power company PG&E said on its website.