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Newsom makes major disaster declaration request to Biden over Tropical Storm Hilary

N Indian Canyon at the Whitewater Wash after Tropical Storm Hilary (8/21/23)
N Indian Canyon at the Whitewater Wash after Tropical Storm Hilary (8/21/23)

Governor Gavin Newsom sent a request to President Joe Biden for a major disaster declaration for the State of California as a result of Tropical Storm Hilary.

Newsom is specifically requesting public assistance for Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Siskiyou, and Ventura continues and hazard mitigation statewide.

"As counties and cities continue to uncover damages from Tropical Storm Hilary, it is clear that recovery efforts remain beyod the capabilites of State and local governments," Newsom wrote. "With significant flash flooding, mud and rockslides, debris flow, and wind damage across Southern and Northern California, the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary [. . .] were nothing short of historic."

According to Newsom, Riverside County reported damages in the estimated amount of $128,835,835. The damage was seen widespread throughout the Coachella Valley.

Several neighborhoods across the region suffered major flooding. The Panorama Park neighborhood in Cathedral City was buried in mud and residents continue to clean up their homes weeks later. Residents voiced their frustations with the response to the aftermath of the storm Wednesday during a city council meeting.

The tropical storm also damaged major roadways and bridges, including N Indian Canyon at the Whitewater Wash, which will be shut down for months.

County officials reported that rainfall rates approached a 50-year storm for the Coachella Valley floor areas and in excess to a 1,000 year event in some mountain canyon areas.

On Aug. 25, county had compiled a list of storm damage reported. At the time, the county estimated more than $126 million in damages, however, that has gone up in three weeks since the report was released. Officials had noted that the numbers were subject to change as additional damages are discovered.

Damage categories include (not a complete listing)*:

Crews made repairs on damaged Pierson Blvd bridge
  • $16,628,417 – Individual Assistance (Private Property)
  • $6,151,905 – Debris Removal
  • $3,417,077 – Emergency Protective Measures

The office of local Congressman Ken Calvert said he will work to urge Biden to approve the request.

“Riverside County, and the Coachella Valley especially, continues to feel the impacts from Tropical Storm Hilary. Just last week, I joined community leaders in Coachella Valley to talk about the challenges from the continued closure of Indian Canyon Road and serious impacts it has on access to the community. I urge the Biden Administration to quickly approve California’s disaster declaration request so that Riverside County residents, communities and small businesses have access to additional resources and assistance.”

- Congressman Ken Calvert

Residents and businesses can report damages via an online form at or by calling 2-1-1.

Greater Palm Springs Realtors has a fund available to help homeowners and renters affected by the local declared emergency disasters in the wake of Tropical Storm Hilary. Anyone in Palm Springs, Cathedral City or Desert Hot Springs whose housing was impacted by the 2023 storm may be eligible for financial assistance up to $2,500.

To apply for disaster relief assistance, please visit

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage on the aftermath of Tropical Storm Hilary.

Be the first to know when news breaks in Coachella Valley. Download the News Channel 3 app here.

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Jesus Reyes


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