Hurricane Hilary, a powerful Category 4 storm, is approaching Southern California and is expected to bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding to the region. The storm, which is currently located off the coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, is forecasted to make its way up the coast and reach Southern California by Sunday night.
Officials at the National Hurricane Center have issued a tropical storm watch for most of Southern California, as the storm is expected to hit the region as a tropical storm. This comes as a concern, as August is historically the driest month in Southern California, and the heavy rainfall from the hurricane could lead to significant flooding.
In response to the approaching storm, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve have announced that they will be closed to visitors until further notice. The closure is meant to ensure the safety of visitors and protect against potential debris flow from recent wildfires in the area.
To help residents prepare for the storm, the city is providing empty sandbags at all fire stations. Residents can pick up sandbags from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Fire Station 412, located off of Ramon Road at 32100 Desert Vista. Shovels are also being provided on-site to make it easier for residents to fill the bags with sand.
Hurricane Hilary has rapidly intensified from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in just 24 hours. It is currently located about 360 miles south-southwest of the tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, with top sustained winds of 145 mph. The storm is expected to weaken as it crosses into Southern California, but the National Weather Service warns that flash flooding is still possible in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.
The storm is expected to bring significant amounts of rain to Southern California, with rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches and isolated amounts of up to 10 inches in some areas. This could lead to flash floods and mudslides, particularly in mountainous regions.
Authorities are urging residents to take the storm seriously and to prepare for potential impacts. The Governor's Office of Emergency Services is coordinating across agencies to support state and local preparations, and the State Operations Center is actively coordinating a response to surge resources to the impacted region.
If Hurricane Hilary does make landfall in California, it would be the first tropical storm to do so since 1939. The storm's eye is expected to make landfall near the southern border around noon on Monday.
As the storm approaches, it is important for residents to stay informed and follow any evacuation orders or warnings issued by local authorities. It is also essential to take precautions to ensure personal safety, such as avoiding flooded roadways and seeking higher ground if floodwaters rise around your vehicle.
Overall, Hurricane Hilary poses a significant threat to Southern California, and residents should take necessary steps to prepare for the storm and protect themselves from potential flooding and other hazards.
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