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Obama declares disaster over December flooding, freeing funds for California

January 26, 2011 |  1:30 pm

Digging out

President Obama on Wednesday declared a "major disaster" exists in the wake of severe flooding that hit California in December, clearing the way for federal emergency funds to be made available to local agencies.

In December, the state declared an emergency for numerous counties in response to the heavy rain, which caused severe mudslides and flooding.

One of the hardest-hit areas was the foothill community of Highland in San Bernardino County, where mudslides caused more than $17 million in damage.

Flood damage caused at least $23 million in damage in Laguna Beach.

Obama's order covers Inyo, Kern, Kings, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Tulare counties.

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-- Shelby Grad

Photo: A car is submerged in mud in Highland. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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