OAN’s Brooke Mallory
11:08 AM – Sunday, August 20, 2023
Hurricane Hilary weakened from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm on Sunday morning, but the storm is still expected to hit Southern California, already forcing some residents to evacuate and many parks and beaches to close ahead of potential flooding, fierce winds, and heavy downpours.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hilary has maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and is moving north-northwest at a pace of roughly 25 miles per hour. As of 7:45 a.m. PST on Sunday, it was roughly 220 miles south-southeast of San Diego.
The storm has already reportedly claimed at least one life. According to Mexican officials, an individual died when their car was washed away near Santa Rosala on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula on Saturday.
It is also expected to deliver a tremendous punch in the southwest U.S.
The impact was immediately felt on Sunday morning, with rain and heavy winds in both Southern California and the wider Southwest. The weather is expected to worsen later in the day, according to reports.
The National Hurricane Center said that a “potentially historic amount of rainfall” could cause “life-threatening to locally catastrophic” flooding.
The storm is expected to bring 3 to 6 inches of rain, or even as much as 10 inches in some locations. Destructive gusts that could potentially knock out electricity for some locals were also another threat mentioned by representatives from the hurricane center.
“We’re mobilizing all of government as we prepare and respond to this unprecedented storm,” said California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom, who declared a state of emergency on Saturday for a large swath of SoCal.
The warnings prompted California’s first-ever tropical storm warning, which stretched from the state’s southern border to just north of Los Angeles, where Mayor Karen Bass encouraged citizens to stay at home on Sunday.
“It is critical that Angelenos stay safe and stay home unless otherwise directed by safety officials,” Bass said. “Avoid unnecessary travel. If you do not need to be on the road, please don’t get in your car. Make sure your emergency kit and essential devices are on hand. And ensure that all of your devices are charged in the event of life-threatening emergency.”
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