Hurricane Hilary is hurtling toward California after pummeling Mexico‘s Baja California peninsula with heavy rain leaving at least one person dead, amid warnings of ‘catastrophic and life-threatening flooding.’
By early Sunday morning the ferocious storm cell had weakened, but it remains a dangerous Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The storm was about 30 miles south of Punta Eugenia, Mexico, and 385 miles from San Diego, California as of about 5am Sunday morning and was moving north to northwest at 21 mph.
Parts of California, Nevada and Arizona that are unaccustomed to rain could also suddenly receive a year’s worth or more.
The maximum sustained wind speed remained unchanged at 85 mph while spreading ‘heavy rains’ northward over the peninsula.
Meteorologists warned that despite weakening, the storm remained treacherous with images and videos posted online already showing its impact.
Severe Flash flooding around Santa Rosalía, Baja California Sur, Mexico from Hurricane Hilary 🌀🇲🇽
Videos surfacing from Santa Rosalia#Hurricane #Weather #SanDiego #Baja #LosAngeles #Forecast #Hillary #Hilary #HurricaneHilary #Mexico #HuracanHilary pic.twitter.com/jUBwXpGdcL— T R U T H P O L E (@Truthpole) August 20, 2023
One video from Santa Rosalia, one of the populations hardest hit by Hilary so far, sunk below murky brown floodwaters racing at intense speeds through the city.
Meanwhile, in the same town one person drowned on Saturday, when a vehicle was swept away in an overflowing stream.
Rescue workers managed to save four other people, Edith Aguilar Villavicencio, the mayor of Mulege township, said to local news outlets.
It was not immediately clear whether officials considered the fatality related to the hurricane, but video posted by local officials showed torrents of water coursing through the town’s streets.
While areas in the Peninsula had already been served a lashing from the storm, residents in California braced for bad weather posting eerie images of deep orange, red and magenta sunsets washing over the state in what people described as the ‘calm before the storm.’
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.
Residents in the southern California had been given evacuation orders ahead of the historic storm making landfall around 1pm.
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.
Newsom tried to reassure residents extensive preparations are underway, including the deploying of ‘more than 7,500 boots on the ground’.
But panic buying has set in and some supermarket shelves in San Diego and Los Angeles were stripped bare of essentials such as water and tinned food.
Videos of people panic buying at grocery stores started emerge from California, with one tweet making jest of the ‘essentials’ being bought by people in Los Angeles.
‘A sign you’re in LA and not the southeast US during hurricane / tropical storm preparation: WHITE BREAD is left at Trader Joe’s!!! Focaccia – all gone!!! But even during storm prep, Angelenos ain’t bringing home the white bread!’ the post read with a picture of empty shelves and around seven loaves of white bread.
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.
The tropical storm, the first set to make landfall in California since 1939, could impact more than 42million people.
Elizabeth Adams, a meteorologist at the NWS 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…Source – Read More!