Hurricane Hilary will bring 10 inches of rain to Southern California “once a century” on Sunday, with locals warning to prepare for high winds and storm surges of up to 9 feet
- Category 4 Hurricane Hilary is expected to bring “life-changing” rainfall to regions of California, weather permitting
- One expert said the region could have rain once a century and that Nevada would likely break its all-time rainfall record
- The storm is currently moving west-northwest at nearly 10 miles per hour and will bring maximum sustained winds of nearly 145 miles per hour
Hurricane Hilary will bring once-in-a-century rains to Southern California this weekend. Locals are warned to prepare for strong winds and storm surges.
The great tropical storm is currently a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to bring “rare” and “life-threatening” flash flooding from the Baja California peninsula to Nevada.
A high-risk excessive precipitation warning has been issued for Sunday across much of Southern California and is expected to continue through Monday.
National Hurricane Center (NHC) officials also issued a tropical storm warning for southwest California for the first time.
Jeff Masters of Yale Climate Connections and a former government aerial meteorologist said the region can expect rain once a century and there’s a good chance Nevada will break its all-time rainfall record, adding that Hilary is strong and wide are impressive.
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Hilary, right, off the Pacific coast of Mexico
Sunday’s rains could break Nevada’s records as flash floods and storm surges are also expected
A tropical storm monitor indicates that tropical storm conditions are a possibility, which the NHC says means sustained winds of over 60 km/h within 48 hours.
Early Friday, Hilary was about 360 miles (575 kilometers) south-southwest of Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula.
It was traveling northwest at a speed of 10 miles per hour (17 km/h) and was expected to continue turning north.
As it nears the west coast of Baja California over the weekend, it will still be a hurricane but is expected to weaken into a tropical storm before hitting southern California Sunday afternoon.
The storm increased wind speeds to 75 mph in just 24 hours, twice the official threshold for rapid intensification.
The speed increase came after the storm swept over 86-degree water, which served as fuel for its heat engine.
The NHC added that storm surges could cause coastal flooding and destructive waves.
Forecasts show Hilary moving north along the Baja California coast, reaching southern California late Sunday.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive precipitation forecast for southern California’s low deserts
A statement from the NHC said, “Heavy rain associated with Hilary could cause flooding and result in landslides over portions of the Baja California Peninsula late at night through late Sunday.”
“Rain impacts from Hilary in the US Southwest are expected to peak this weekend through Monday.”
“Flash flooding, urban and arroyo flooding is anticipated with the possibility of rare and dangerous impacts.”
The storm is currently moving west-northwest at nearly 10 miles per hour and will bring maximum sustained winds of nearly 145 miles per hour
According to the National Weather Service, there could be as much as 7 inches of rain between Saturday and Monday in Big Bear Lake, Julian, Idyllwild and Mt. Laguna.
Up to 5 inches could be visible in the Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs. Hemet, San Bernardino, Hesperia, and Victorville could see up to 4 inches.
Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said, “The rain is the biggest potential threat.”
SpaceX has delayed launching a satellite rocket from a base on California’s central coast until at least Monday.
The company said Pacific conditions could make it difficult for a ship to recover the rocket booster.