Powerful Hurricane Hilary heads for Mexico’s Baja. Rare tropical storm watch issued for California

by Gabriel Martinez
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fokus keyword Hurricane Hilary

Hurricane Hilary is building momentum as a Category 4 storm off Mexico’s Pacific coast, with the potential to bring heavy rainfall to the mudslide-prone city of Tijuana. The storm is then forecasted to head into Southern California, marking the first tropical storm there in 84 years.

Meteorologists have issued warnings of possible extreme flooding, mudslides, and tornadoes throughout the region.

Hilary gained force early Friday, reaching winds of 145 mph (230 kph) before slightly weakening to 130 mph (215 kph) by night. However, it is still expected to approach Mexico’s Baja California as a hurricane on Sunday, and Southern California as a tropical storm later in the day.

The storm has already begun to disrupt daily life. Major League Baseball has rescheduled games, national parks have been closed to avoid potential stranding amid flooding, and cities, even as far as Arizona, are preparing sandbags to defend against floodwaters.

Notably, no tropical storm has landed in Southern California since September 1939. A watch for this rare occurrence has been spread across Southern California, covering the coast to the inland mountains and deserts. The U.S. National Hurricane Center is emphasizing the threat to lives and properties.

Hilary is forecasted to make landfall on Sunday in a less populated area of Baja peninsula, around 200 miles (330 kilometers) south of Ensenada. The northward movement could cause heavy rains in Tijuana, a city already preparing for the storm by clearing storm drains.

With its unique landscape and population of 1.9 million, Tijuana is especially vulnerable to landslides and flooding. Local authorities are setting up shelters in high-risk areas and issuing warnings to residents.

Mexico has also issued a tropical storm watch for parts of the mainland, and 18,000 soldiers are on alert.

As of Friday night, Hilary’s center was about 285 miles (460 kilometers) southwest of Cabo San Lucas, and it was moving north-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph). Some schools in Cabo San Lucas are being prepared as temporary shelters.

In anticipation of the storm, police in La Paz are patrolling closed beaches, and schools have been closed in five municipalities.

Hilary is likely to reach California as a tropical storm early Monday, with rain expected to begin on Saturday. The storm might bring 3 to 6 inches (8-15 centimeters) of rain to parts of Southern California and southern Nevada, which could break records.

President Joe Biden has announced that FEMA has positioned staff and supplies in the region, urging residents to heed the warnings of local authorities.

In preparation, deputies in Los Angeles have announced warnings and are urging homeless individuals to seek shelter. Plans are underway for food, shelter, and even evacuation of popular tourist destinations.

Local communities are reinforcing sand barriers, delaying rocket launches, and residents are lining up for sandbags, some with excitement about the heavy surf but also with concern about flooding and landslides.

Experts explain that storms rarely hit Southern California due to prevailing winds. However, Hilary’s path is being influenced by a high-pressure heat dome, expected to bring triple-digit heat to the Midwest and block any eastern turn.

Various reporters from different locations contributed to the news, highlighting the widespread attention and concern regarding this powerful and unusual storm.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Hurricane Hilary

What category is Hurricane Hilary, and where is it headed?

Hurricane Hilary is categorized as a Category 4 storm. It is building momentum off Mexico’s Pacific coast, with the potential to bring heavy rainfall to Tijuana and is forecasted to head into Southern California.

When is Hurricane Hilary expected to make landfall in Southern California?

Hilary is expected to reach California early Monday as a tropical storm, though widespread rain is anticipated to begin as early as Saturday.

How are local authorities in the affected regions preparing for the storm?

Local authorities are setting up shelters, closing schools and beaches, offering sandbags, patrolling high-risk areas, and issuing warnings to residents. There are also evacuation plans and re-enforcement of sand barriers in some areas.

What records might Hurricane Hilary break?

Hurricane Hilary could bring two to three inches of rainfall to Southern California, which is considered “unheard of” for this time of year. It may also break Nevada’s all-time rainfall record.

How is the federal government responding to Hurricane Hilary?

President Joe Biden has announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has pre-positioned staff and supplies in the region and urged residents to listen to state and local officials’ guidance.

Why is Hurricane Hilary an unusual occurrence for Southern California?

Storms rarely hit Southern California due to prevailing winds that usually push them into the open ocean or northeastward. Hurricane Hilary’s path is influenced by a high-pressure heat dome, making its landfall in Southern California a rare event.

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