The office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom told Fox News Digital that the Democrat has “returned to the state” after taking a “personal trip in Baja California” while residents were dealing with the aftermath of devastating winter storms that dumped as much as 10 feet of snow.
It remains unclear why Newsom opted to travel out of California during the storm situation, as well as after declaring a state of emergency in 13 counties, including Los Angeles, on Wednesday due to the weather.
Critics roasted Newsom for being away after he reportedly left for the Mexico region following a visit to the Diablo Canyon power plant in Avila Beach.
“The Governor was on a personal trip in Baja California,” his office told Fox News Digital late Monday night. “He returned to the state on Sunday, meeting with emergency personnel at the State Operations Center and receiving a briefing on current conditions.”
GAVIN NEWSOM ROASTED FOR LEAVING CALIFORNIA ON ‘PERSONAL TRAVEL’ DURING DEVASTATING WINTER STORMS
While California Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, was in Mexico’s Baja California, Crestline residents such as Don Kendrick and Deanna Beaudoin, right, were among many stranded in their properties after being slammed with snow. The pair is pictured taking a break from shoveling out their car Sunday, the day Newsom returned to California, after being snowed in for 12 days. (AP/José Luis Villegas/Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Following his return, Newsom was photographed sitting at a conference room table receiving what his office said was “an update on winter storms and the state’s work to support disaster response and relief efforts.”
However, as of Monday, residents in hard-hit areas of San Bernardino County, where Big Bear Lake received about 6.5 feet of snow over a 7-day period, were still trying to return to normal life after the record snowfall last week, according to The Associated Press.
TEEN HIKERS STRANDED IN CALIFORNIA SNOWSTORM FOR DAYS HUDDLED TOGETHER TO SURVIVE, AUTHORITIES SAY
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen Sunday meeting with “emergency response officials” for “an update on winter storms and the state’s work to support disaster response and relief efforts,” his office said. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)
The news agency reported that five free food distribution centers have been set up in the San Bernardino County community of Crestline.
“Imagine not having any food in your house after being trapped for 13 days,” resident Michelle Calkins was quoted as telling KTLA-TV.
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People walk along a plowed street in Crestline, California, March 6 after a series of winter storms dropped more than 100 inches of snow in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
As part of the storm relief effort, Newsom’s office says “Significant numbers of state personnel are on the ground supporting affected areas, including from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol, CAL FIRE, and the California National Guard working closely with the county-led Incident Command to rapidly deploy resources and address emergency management needs.”
“Over 57 Caltrans employees operating 40 high-powered pieces of equipment, including graders, loaders, dump trucks, snow plows and blowers, have removed more than 7.2 million cubic yards of snow off state highways in San Bernardino County as of March 4, which equates to nearly 2,270 Olympic-size swimming pools,” it added. “In addition, private contractors have removed another 970,000 cubic yards of snow from state routes 18 and 330.”
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and Julia Musto contributed to this report.
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.