Hurricane Hillary, a category 1 storm for California, continues to threaten damaging winds and flooding
Hurricane Hillary is expected to hit Southern California on Sunday as a rare tropical storm, bringing flooding, high winds and torrential rain as residents evacuate, parks and beaches close and first responders prepare for water rescues.
Hillary is now a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 136 kph while moving north-northwest at 32 kph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was about 450 miles south of San Diego at 11 p.m. local time on Saturday.
The hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical storm before reaching the United States, but will still have a strong impact over the Southwest, with “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding, according to the Hurricane Center.
The storm is expected to drop 3 to 6 inches of rain, or even 10 inches in some areas, and will bring damaging winds that could knock out power to many. The worst is expected from Sunday to Monday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday for most of Southern California to support hurricane response and recovery efforts, according to the governor’s office.
“We are mobilizing the entire government as we prepare for and respond to this unprecedented storm,” Newsom said.
A hurricane warning is in effect in Mexico from Punta Abriojos to Cabo San Quentin, a stretch of about 300 miles along the western coast of the Baja California Peninsula.
“Catastrophic urban flooding and flash flooding is expected, especially in the northern parts of the peninsula,” the National Hurricane Center said late Saturday, with the potential for 3 to 6 inches of rain.
Although Hillary is expected to move north from Baja California to Southern California on Sunday afternoon, its effects will be felt soon.
“Preparations for the flooding impacts associated with Hillary should be completed as soon as possible, as heavy rains will begin well in advance of the center,” the hurricane center said.
Parts of California, Nevada, and Arizona that weren’t used to rain may suddenly get a year’s worth or more. And along the coast, Hillary’s large swells are likely to create life-threatening waves and rip currents.