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President Clinton today declared more than half of flood-ravaged California a disaster area. The move affects 39 of California's 59 counties, permitting their businesses and residents to seek federal disaster relief funds. Drenching rainstorms over much of the state have caused at least 12 deaths and an estimated $2 billion in damages over the past five days, washing out bridges and driving thousands from their homes. Skies finally cleared today in Southern California, but the deluge continued in the northern part of the state. TIME San Francisco bureau chief David S. Jackson says much of central California's budding agricultural valley is submerged, which could drive up food prices nationwide. California is the U.S.'s sole source of almonds and artichokes and grows much of the country's tomatoes, strawberries and lettuce.