Hilary Makes Landfall, Turns Toward San Diego

Parts of California could receive 3 inches of rain per hour
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2023 6:55 AM CDT
Updated Aug 20, 2023 5:10 PM CDT
California Braces as Storm Stays on Track
Few people walk on the street after the landfall of Tropical Storm Hilary in Rosarito, Mexico, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Alex Cossio)
UPDATE Aug 20, 2023 5:10 PM CDT

Now a tropical storm, Hilary made landfall Sunday in a lightly populated area of Mexico's Baja California, downing power lines and sending torrents of water through streets. The eye was forecast to reach San Diego by 5pm local time before Hilary turns northeast, putting it on track to hit Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties by evening, the Los Angeles Times reports. Baja peninsula roads were washed out, per the AP. In the US, more than 9 million people were under a flash flood warning that covers downtown Los Angeles, per CNN.

Aug 20, 2023 6:55 AM CDT

Hurricane Hilary moved closer to the coast of Mexico early Sunday on a continued path to the Baja California peninsula as a weakened but dangerous Category 1 hurricane, which the National Weather Service said was likely to bring "catastrophic and life-threatening" flooding to the region and cross into the southwestern US as a tropical storm, per the AP. The National Weather Center in Miami said in the most recent advisory at 2am that the storm was about 30 miles south of Punta Eugenia, Mexico, and 385 miles from San Diego, California. The maximum sustained wind speed remained unchanged at 85 mph while spreading "heavy rains" northward over the peninsula.

Forecasters said the storm was still expected to enter the history books as the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years, bringing flash floods, mudslides, isolated tornadoes, high winds, and power outages. The forecast prompted authorities to issue an evacuation advisory for Santa Catalina Island, urging residents and beachgoers to leave the tourist destination 23 miles off the coast. Elizabeth Adams, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service San Diego office, said rain could fall up to 3 inches an hour across Southern California's mountains and deserts, from late Sunday morning into the afternoon. The intense rainfall during those hours could cause widespread and life-threatening flash floods.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency, and officials had urged people to finish their preparations before sundown Saturday. It would be too late by Sunday, one expert said. The US hurricane center posted tropical storm and potential flood warnings for Southern California from the Pacific coast to interior mountains and deserts. The San Bernardino County sheriff issued evacuation warnings for several mountain and foothill communities ahead of the storm, while Orange County sent out its own alert for anyone living in a wildfire burn scar in the Santa Ana Mountains' Silverado and Williams canyons.

(More hurricanes stories.)

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