Marin, Sonoma Counties Supervisors Declare "State of Emergency" After Storm Damage | NBC Bay Area

Marin, Sonoma Counties Supervisors Declare "State of Emergency" After Storm Damage



    The Marin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to issue a state of emergency because of the recent storms that have battered the North Bay, causing levee breaches, mudslides, flooding and power outages. Stephanie Chuang reports. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014)

    The boards of supervisors in two North Bay counties proclaimed states of emergencies on Tuesday night, saying the damage because of the rains and flooding have reached at least $18 million in both their areas.

    Sonoma County board of supervisors spokeswoman Rebecca Wachsberg said damage estimates there have reached at least $17 million. And the Marin County board of supervisors estimated the damage there to be at leat $1 million.

    Both declarations allow the counties to apply for state and federal aid to help pay for repairs. 

    The Marin County board ratification came one day after county administrator Matthew Hymel proclaimed a local emergency, and hours after a mudslide closed Tennesse Valley Road, which leads to a popular hiking trail.  In addition, one of the levees near downtown Novato was intentionally breached as an emergency measure to lower flood water on Novato Creek. And a portion of Highway 1 near Muir Woods crumbled last week.

    The entire Bay Area has been drenched with rain - much needed after three years of drought - but the precipitation has most severely damaged the North Bay,  including residents of Tiburon, where a hillside crumbled into residents' backyards.

    Marin County spokesman Brent Ainsworth said this is the fourth such state of emergency proclamation because of storms in the last decade. The board of supervisors declared states of emergencies in 2005, 2006 and 2011, as well.

    But just because a county asks for state help, doesn't mean they get it all. In 2005, for example, the county suffered $12 million in damages, and Ainsworth said FEMA reimbursed the county for $8 million of it.

    There is at least one silver lining to all the storm damage in Marin County, about an hour's drive north of San Francisco - four of the seven county reservoirs are full, and the others are nearly flush with water.

    Cars drive through flooded streets in Mill Valley. Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014
    Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

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    NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews contributed to this report.