DeSantis offers to assist California with Hurricane Hilary ‘in any way we can’

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With Hurricane Hilary forecast to strike Southern California this weekend, Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis has offered to assist his Democratic rival Gov. Gavin Newsom with storm preparedness and relief efforts.

‘Hurricane Hilary is approaching Southern California and is projected to make landfall as a tropical storm,’ DeSantis posted on X on Saturday morning. ‘In Florida, we know how challenging storms can be and have significant experience responding in their wake — we stand ready to help the people of California in any way we can.’

There’s been no official reply from Newsom at time of publication. Fox News Digital has reached out to the governor’s press office for comment. 

‘We have a lot of experience in dealing with tropical weather events as I think people understand,’ DeSantis told Fox News Digital in an interview during a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire. ‘And so, we’ve offered any assistance that they may need and look, we can have our political disagreements but when you have issues like that, we’ve got to band together as Americans and so we may not necessarily agree with California on policy but we understand if people need help, we want to be there to help.’

California is under its first-ever Tropical Storm Watch as state officials mobilize to prepare for the storm’s arrival. For the first time, more than 14 million Americans will experience catastrophic, life-threatening flooding as a year’s worth of rain is dumped on the state in just a few days. The warning stretches from Los Angeles to the U.S.-Mexico border and includes the coastal region of San Diego. 

The storm underwent rapid intensification in the Pacific Ocean, strengthening from a tropical storm to a large Category 4 hurricane in less than 48 hours, FOX Weather reported. Though it is expected to weaken once it makes landfall on the Mexican coast, California will feel the worst effects of torrential rain on Sunday and Monday.  

The FOX Forecast Center reports that the Southwest is being impacted by moisture from Hurricane Hilary, resulting in the issuance of flash flood warnings on Saturday.

‘You can see this visually on water vapor satellite (below),’ said FOX Forecast Center senior meteorologist Jordan Overton. ‘The greatest impacts will not be until tomorrow night, but impacts are already ongoing. Today is the final day for all preparations to be completed.’

Newsom is calling on California residents to remain vigilant and prepare for flooding and power outages and to listen to local authorities to keep safe. 

‘We should never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. California is coordinating with federal and local governments to support communities as they prepare for this unprecedented storm,’ Newsom said Friday in a news release. ‘Heed warnings from local authorities, be ready and stay informed.’

The governor left for southern California on Friday and is remaining there while the storm makes landfall, his office said.

At Newsom’s direction, the State Operations Center at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is activated, and the state is closely monitoring incoming impacts from rain, wind and potential flash flooding and power outages, according to the news release.

The State Operations Center is coordinating with locals to set up swift water rescue teams, California National Guard teams and flood-fighting tools while partnering with community-based organizations to protect the homeless. California is also staffing highway maintenance crews around the clock to proactively maintain roadway safety. 

DeSantis and Newsom have traded jabs over social media in a rivalry that has grown more intense as each governor is frequently mentioned as a future presidential prospect. Though DeSantis is running for the Republican nomination this year, Newsom has declined to challenge President Biden, who is running for re-election in the 2024 Democratic primary. 

The two governors have independently accepted a debate challenge issued by Fox News host Sean Hannity, but a time and location have not been set.   

Fox Weather’s Chris Oberholtz contributed to this report. 

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