California Braces for Historic Hurricane Hilary
On August 19, 2023, Hurricane Hilary's path took a turn, putting California directly in its trajectory. This rare storm is expected to make landfall in Southern California on Sunday and Monday, bringing with it potentially catastrophic flooding, power outages, downed trees, and wind damage. The National Weather Service has issued flood watches for southwestern Arizona and southeastern California, warning of 1-5 inches of rain with locally higher amounts that could result in widespread significant flooding.
Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for much of Southern California in anticipation of Hurricane Hilary's impact. The state is mobilizing and coordinating resources to support response and recovery efforts. This marks the first time a tropical storm warning has been issued for Southern California, highlighting the severity of the situation.
Meteorologists predict rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches in San Diego and Los Angeles, with higher amounts of 6 to 8 inches or more in higher elevations and desert areas. Some inland desert areas could even see 5 to 10 inches of rain. The storm's fast-moving nature has prompted the closure of state parks and beaches in Orange and San Diego counties, with more closures expected as the situation evolves.
Residents in affected areas are advised to take precautions, including picking up sandbags to protect against flooding. San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey urges residents to prepare their properties and work closely with local emergency services to minimize the storm's impact.
As Hurricane Hilary weakens from a Category 4 to a Category 1 storm, concerns remain about its potential to cause significant damage. With sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph, the storm poses a serious threat to coastal areas. Additionally, the storm's fast-forward motion of 18 mph increases the risk of flash floods and heavy winds.
Arizona is also preparing for the storm's impact, with the southernmost areas of the state, including Yuma, La Paz, and Pima counties, expected to be affected. The National Hurricane Center warns of potential gusts of 40-50 mph along San Diego's coastal areas, along with up to 4 inches of rain.
The situation remains fluid, and officials are closely monitoring the storm's progress. With thousands of emergency personnel on the ground, California is working tirelessly to protect its communities and minimize the storm's impact. As Hurricane Hilary approaches, residents are urged to stay informed, follow evacuation orders, and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
0. “Hurricane Hilary preparedness: Essential steps to protect yourself and your home” KSBW Monterey, 19 Aug. 2023, https://www.ksbw.com/article/hurricane-hilary-preparedness-essential-steps-to-protect-yourself-and-your-home/44855895
1. “Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency for southern California ahead of historic Hurricane Hilary” CNN, 20 Aug. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/19/weather/hurricane-hilary-california-southwest-tropical-storm-saturday/index.html
2. “Navy scrambles San Diego ships ahead of rare Pacific hurricane” KPBS, 19 Aug. 2023, https://www.kpbs.org/news/military/2023/08/18/navy-scrambles-san-diego-ships-ahead-of-rare-pacific-hurricane
3. “Hurricane Hilary: California Under State Of Emergency Ahead Of Tropical Storm Arrival As State Parks Close Beaches” Deadline, 20 Aug. 2023, https://deadline.com/2023/08/hurricane-hilary-california-under-state-of-emergency-1235523422/
4. “Hurricane Hilary tracker map, live updates” Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/projects/map-hurricane-hilary-storm-path-tracker-southern-california/
5. “Hurricane Hilary: Could Arizona feel the effects from the powerful storm?” FOX 10 News Phoenix, 19 Aug. 2023, https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/hurricane-hilary-could-arizona-feel-the-effects-from-the-powerful-storm