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California urges Obama to declare disaster because of rain damage

December 29, 2010 |  5:24 pm

Acting Gov. Abel Maldonado on Wednesday sent a letter to President Obama urging him to declare a disaster in California because of storm damage.

The request came as another storm moved through Southern California. It's been the wettest December in L.A. in more than a century, causing road closures, mudslides and major flooding.

The state has already declared state emergencies in numerous counties hit by the storm damage.

Laguna Beach, whose downtown saw flooding last week, estimated the losses to be at least $10 million. In Highland, next to San Bernardino, dozens of homes were damaged by a massive mudslide.

In his letter, Maldondo noted the state's financial straits and said federal help would be needed.

"I request direct federal assistance for work and services to save lives and protect property. Due to the severity of this disaster, it may take some time for state or local governments to perform or contract for this type of work and these services," he wrote.

Another storm is expected Saturday.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times / December 29, 2010) Thigh-deep in floodwater and mud, staff member Manuel Celya stacks sandbags in the play yard at the Anneliese Schools' campus in Laguna Beach in an attempt to stem the flooding from a storm-swollen creek that runs along Laguna Canyon Road.