California 2010 Winter Storms

Federal Emergency Management AgencyTulare County proclaimed a state of emergency on December 20, 2010, as winter storms created widespread flooding, debris and mud flows, and numerous road washouts and closures. This County proclamation was followed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Proclamation on December 21, 2010 for severe winter storms affecting in Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties.

Following a Preliminary Damage Assessment, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in California and signed the Major Disaster Declaration of January 26, 2011 granting "federal aid to supplement State, Tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe winter storms, flooding, and debris and mud flows during the period of December 17, 2010, to January 4, 2011."

What Does This Mean?

These proclamations and declarations make Tulare County eligible for a number of disaster assistance programs from the State and Federal government.  These programs are broken into two categories: Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA).

Individual Assistance

Fortunately, the 2010 Winter Storm event did not cause considerable private property damage.  Unfortunately for those individuals who did suffer losses, this means that the most comprehensive assistance program - FEMA's Individual Assistance (IA) - is not available for this disaster.

SBA.GovThe U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued its own Disaster Declaration, but only for the Counties of Orange, San Bernardino, and San Luis Obispo.  This declaration makes homeowners, renters, and business owners in the declared counties, as well as the contiguous Counties of Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Monterey, Riverside, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, eligible for SBA Disaster Assistance.  Tulare County was not included, as private property damages in Tulare and its neighboring counties were insufficient to meet the SBA threshold.

 One avenue of disaster assistance that has been made available in Tulare County, specifically to the Agricultural sector, comes in the form of subsidized emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The loans carry a 3.75% interest rate, and may be issued in amounts up to $500,000 to those individual or corporate agricultural operations directly impacted by the disaster.  For more information or to obtain an application, please refer to the USDA Emergency Farm Loans Program or contact your local Farm Service Agency Service Center.

Public Assistance (PA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced the recovery process in response to the Presidential Declaration, which provides:

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities.
  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for removing debris from public areas and for emergency measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health.
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.

The specifics of the FEMA recovery process can be found in its Disaster Summary, and FEMA will be meeting with qualified Applicants (local governments) to identify and initiate recovery efforts.

In addition to the Federal Assistance, Tulare County is eligible to receive assistance from the State of California under the California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA) program.  The CDAA may cover up to 75% of remaining cost not covered by FEMA, reducing Tulare County's share of its disaster-related costs to as low as 6.25% of the total response and recovery costs. 

The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) will be coordinating this process cooperatively with FEMA, and are working to implement a joint recovery strategy for the affected counties. The two agencies have established a Joint Field Office (JFO) in Pasadena, California.