President Joe Biden will visit parts of California on Thursday to view areas affected by severe storms and assess additional federal support needed for recovery efforts.

The president will survey areas of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties along the state’s central coast, where recent storms have caused flooding and mudslides.

He will meet with first responders, state and local officials, and communities affected by the devastation. Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will travel with Biden, who will also meet with Governor Gavin Newsom.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday that Biden has been closely monitoring the situation in California in recent weeks and is regularly briefed by his national security team. She has kept in contact with Newsom and other local officials.

Heavy rains battered California on Monday, and forecasters warned of flooding as a parade of storms that have killed 12 people battered the western United States.
A flooded home in Gilroy, California, in Santa Clara County, on January 9. Josh Edelson/AFP – Getty Images

Biden’s visit to California comes after the White House announced it had approved a disaster declaration for the state focusing federal aid on three hard-hit counties: Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz. The declaration provides federal support for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and individual assistance for homes that have been damaged by storms. More than 500 FEMA and other federal personnel have been deployed to assist in response and recovery operations, Jean-Pierre said.

California has been battered by a series of storms since late December, killing at least 21 people, according to an NBC News tally.