President Clinton has arrived in California to meet with officials and citizens to discuss recovery efforts in the San Francisco Bay area, which has been struck by heaving storms and flooding, propelled by El Nino. Wednesday, he visited the tornado-torn areas of central Florida.
Mr. Clinton is expected to announced new federal relief efforts, including a $20 million grant to help rebuild California highways in the Los Angeles area. Federal disaster officials have said the government will spend an estimated $250 million in California because of El Nino-related storms and flooding.
Later Thursday, the president is expected to join his daughter, Chelsea, a freshman at nearby Stanford University who turns 18 on Friday, and head to Utah, where they will join first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for three days of skiing.
However, Mr. Clinton, who was injured 14 years ago at his first attempt at skiing, said he plans to just "stay in the cabin and read" while his wife and daughter hit the slopes.
In the meantime, most Californians are enjoying the first stretch of sunshine they've had in two weeks.
"It's about time the sun came out," said Chad Hunter of Simi Valley as he walked the Santa Monica Pier with his daughter. "It's been a depressing two weeks for all of us."
Restaurant manager Marcello Sala beamed as patrons filled sidewalk tables at the Gaucho Grill in Pasadena. "I absolutely feel 100 percent better today," he said.
But relief was tempered by the continuing impact of the departed storm.
Laguna Beach emergency workers searching a devastating mudslide found a second body, identified as Nicholas Allen Flores, 44. That raised the death toll to nine.
Elsewhere, property owners watched hillsides anxiously, and miles of beaches were awash in sewage.
Since late January, storms have caused more than $475 million in damage statewide.
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