The Solano County Board of Supervisors passed a pair of emergency proclamations this week designed help mitigate impacts from winter storms that caused flooding, landslides and damaged roads.

Despite sustaining millions of dollars in damage, the county is still in the process of making assessments to submit to the governor, who must seek a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to unlock certain assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

One proclamation approved Tuesday extended a previously declared local emergency covering the first set of storms that lasted from December through January. A new proclamation was passed that will cover the second series of storms that hit the county from February through March and into this month.

“We’re actively still in recovery for the December/January storms,” said Robyn Raines, head of the county’s Office of Emergency Services.

On top of that, rain in February and March has caused damage to unincorporated areas, special districts, and cities including Benicia and Fairfield. The emergency proclamations are a first step in seeking state and federal aid. Damage assessments from those and other impacted cities must be finalized before a request for federal assistance is made.

‘The creeping damage effect’

Crop losses in the county are estimated at $3 million, largely attributed to winter wheat, alfalfa and hay crops that were under water for extended periods. The repeated rains could delay the planting of the tomato crop and colder temperatures could lead to a shorter almond season because of a reduced pollination period, said Ed King, the county’s agricultural commissioner.

“There still could be further damages to orchards with trees that were under water for some time,” King said.

County engineer Matt Tuggle said that damage has worsened as more storms have moved through already vulnerable areas.

“It’s the creeping damage effect,” Tuggle said.

“For the amount of rain we got, we’ve been frankly very fortunate on the private property side, but public facilities have definitely taken a hit.”

Matt Tuggle, Solano County engineer

He said that the lack of time for soil to dry contributed to increased landslides and slips.

Among the damage that developed, a deep fissure remains in Lopes Road that has impacted a Benicia water line, Vallejo has damage to an access road to Lake Curry, Cantelow Road has a slip and a slide that have caused partial lane closures, which could also threaten a Rural North Vacaville Water District supply line if the land continues to move.

Gates Canyon Road is expected to remain closed for at least the next few weeks as two major slides remain from the early winter storms, and Suisun Valley Road had a sheer drop-off develop.

Tuggle said damage estimates from the first storms were about $2 million to $3 million and assessments continue to be made for more recent storms.

“For the amount of rain we got, we’ve been frankly very fortunate on the private property side, but public facilities have definitely taken a hit,” Tuggle said.