Hurricane Hilary Historic tropical storm warning for California as Southwest residents are preparing for “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” as Hurricane Hilary is predicted to batter the area as a rare tropical storm starting on Saturday and lasting until next week.
The National Hurricane Center reported that the hurricane on Saturday decreased in strength from a very hazardous Category 4 storm to a Category 3 storm. According to the center, the storm is still a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour.
The storm is presently situated 235 miles west of the southernmost point of the Baja California Peninsula and is traveling at a speed of 16 mph. As it advances across colder waters near Southern California in the north-northwest, Hurricane Hilary is anticipated to continue to weaken.
The storm is moving more quickly than anticipated, which will hasten the arrival of its effects on the US. The storm’s flooding rain will begin to reach the Southwest on Saturday, well before the center of Hurricane Hilary’s stronger winds. The National Hurricane Center predicts that those winds, combined with heavier and more hazardous rain, could reach as early as Sunday morning.
“The direction of Hilary has somewhat changed to the east as well as its pace. Accordingly, Sunday morning through Sunday evening will be the time period with the most impact, according to the National Weather Service in San Diego.
The threat led to the first-ever tropical storm warning for California, which covers the state’s southern border up to about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
As Hilary moves forward, the Southwest is expected to have significant rainfall through the beginning of next week, with the wettest days expected to be Sunday and Monday. Some areas of California, Nevada, and Arizona may receive more rain from the deluges than they would in a whole year.
According to the center, rainfall in certain locations in Southern California and Nevada could reach 10 inches. Amounts of 1 to 3 inches are anticipated elsewhere.
Although Hilary will have a strong core, the NHC warned that it will start to rain and have high gusts well before it actually makes landfall.
The storm center advised that flooding preparedness be finished as soon as possible because Saturday’s heavy rain will intensify ahead of the center.
Aerial photo of Hurricane Dorian damage in Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, taken on September 5, 2019. As it approached the US east coast on Thursday, Hurricane Dorian pounded the Carolinas with torrential rain and violent gusts after ravaging the Bahamas and killing at least 20 people.
Officials in the area have started preparing for the storm’s potential for deadly flood conditions, downed power lines, and hazardous road conditions.
The deployment of 100 state National Guard soldiers to southern Nevada, which could see heavy floods, was announced by Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo on Friday.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already prepared staff and resources to respond in Southern California or other areas of the region, according to President Joe Biden, who spoke at a news conference on Friday.
Southern California works furiously to get ready
According to information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, if Hilary makes landfall in California as a tropical storm, it would be the first such storm to do so in the state in close to 84 years.
The first Level 4 of 4 danger to be issued for the region is the high risk of extreme rainfall in certain areas of Southern California. This degree of risk is quite uncommon. According to research from the Weather Prediction Center, high risks were issued on less than 4% of days annually on average from 2010 to 2020, but they were responsible for 39% of all flood-related fatalities and 83% of all flood-related property damage.
On August 18, 2023, Hurricane Hilary is approaching the shore as seen from Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office stated Friday that the state had prepared water rescue teams, California National Guard personnel, and flood control equipment in advance of Hilary’s arrival because to the serious threat.
To help with traffic safety, highway maintenance teams will also be employed 24 hours a day, according to the governor’s office.
More than 15 million people in the area are served by the electricity firm Southern California Edison, which on Thursday warned that Hurricane Hilary is expected to have a significant impact on much of its service area. The business advised homeowners to stock up on supplies like torches, external battery chargers, and ice chests even though it maintained it was ready to respond to outages.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell addresses the media on May 31, 2023, in Miami, Florida, from the National Hurricane Center. FEMA and NOAA representatives addressed the media after the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1 and urged people to get ready for the impending storm season. (Image: Joe Raedle via Getty Images))
Officials in Los Angeles and San Diego claim they are undertaking outreach and providing temporary shelter since the homeless community is particularly at risk for flooding threats. Aerial alerts about the storm are being made, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and at-risk encampments are being mapped out.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna stated during a news conference on Friday, “We hope that the storm does not cause any damage, and more importantly, there is no loss of life.” “However, we will be ready for the worst-case scenario, not only to help those in our county, but if we are not impacted or affected, if required, serve as a resource for other nearby counties,” read the statement’s final sentence.
According to Mayor Todd Gloria on Friday, San Diego has also spent the past few days preparing equipment, clearing roadways, and cleaning storm drains.