Hurricane Hilary could bring more than a year of rain to parts of the Southwest | cnn (2023)

Editor's note:Read our coverage of Hurricane Hilary tosaturday here.


Concern is growing. Hurricane Hilary will bring torrential rains that will inundate the southwestern US and parts of California as it makes unusual movements over the region on Sunday and early next week, triggering a tropical storm warning for parts of southern California .

Hilary could pull more than onerain all yearin parts of three states: California, Nevada and Arizona. Due to the threat, parts of California are at unusually high risk of excessive rainfall. This Level 4 of 4 threat is the first announced for this part of Southern California.

Hilary was a strong Category 4 hurricane that struck about 325 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Friday afternoon with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and higher gusts.National Hurricane Centersaying.

The storm underwent incredibly rapid intensification Thursday through Friday, going from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in just 24 hours. Hilary is expected to remain a Category 4 hurricane when it reaches the Mexican peninsula on Saturday approaching Baja California.

Forecasters have issued hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for Baja California, including the Los Angeles area and as far north as Point Mugu in Ventura County and northwestern Mexico as central Hilary nears the end. of week.

still onewide range of resultsfor the strongest winds in the US as the storm moves north over the next few days. Small deviations in the hurricane's path could change the forecast for stronger rains and winds.

The hurricane is moving faster than expected, so it is likely that Mexico and California will also experience impacts sooner than initial predictions suggested. The center now forecasts that the core of Hilary will be "very close to central Baja California on Saturday night and moving inland across southern California on Sunday night."

The NHC also noted that strong winds and heavy rain will hit areas long before they see the center of the hurricane.

An aerial view of the damage from Hurricane Dorian on September 5, 2019 in Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. - Hurricane Dorian ripped through the Carolinas with torrential rains and strong winds as it approached the US East Coast on Thursday after devastating the Bahamas and killing at least 20 people. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images What rapid intensification means for hurricanes

Hilary is most likely to make landfall in Mexico and cross into California, but if it makes landfall in California as a tropical storm, it would be the first such storm to make landfall in California in nearly 84 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere. Administration.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the first time Friday morning for parts of southern California, which stretches from the California-Mexico border to Los Angeles County, according to the National Hurricane Center. The watch changed to alert in a Friday night update.

"The risk of significant wind impacts continues to increase in the northern parts of the Baja California Peninsula and the southwestern United States, particularly in areas with mountainous terrain," the hurricane center said.sayingThursday night.

Major flooding expected in the southwest

Hillary is expected to weaken significantly before reaching southern California and parts of the Southwest, but regardless of its strength, the storm will amplify heavy rainfall and increase the risk of flooding.

Heavy rain expected for the southwest on Saturday and into early next week, with the heaviest rains likely on Sunday and Monday.

It can hardly be overstated how great the risk of excessive rainfall is. On average, elevated risks occur on less than 4% of days per year, but they are justifiable.responsible for 83% of all flood-related damage and 39% of all flood-related deaths, shows an investigation of the Meteorological Prediction Center.

Parts of southern California and Nevada could receive 3 to 5 inches of rain, up to 10 inches in isolated areas. Rain levels of 1 to 3 inches are expected in the central parts of these states, as well as western Arizona and southwestern Utah.

Thanks to Hilary, "some of the driest parts of California could potentially experience several years of rain," Daniel Swain, a climate researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Wednesday.

These places include Death Valley in California, the hottest place on earth. According to data from the NWS, Death Valley typically receives about 2 inches of rain over the course of a year. Hilary's moisture could cause enough rain to make Death Valley 1v2 Years Amount of precipitation in a single day. And in Las Vegas they could fall between 5 and 10 cm of rain. It falls an annual average of only 3.75 inches of rain.

Persistent rainfall can supersaturate the soil and inundate watercourses, which could exacerbate the risk of flooding.

The Mojave National Preserve, which sits on the California-Nevada border, is closed until further notice due to possible flooding from the storm, spokeswoman Sierra Willoughby told CNN on Friday.

Flood warnings were issued across Southern California, from San Diego to Los Angeles, over the weekend as residents braced for possible flooding.

The National Weather Service in Los Angelesalso warnedthe potential for dangerously high surf, currents, and coastal flooding. Several county offices have been preparing for the storm in recent days and have emergency personnel ready to respond immediately, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said during a news conference Friday.

Luna said a key concern is protecting members of the homeless community. According to an estimate for 2023, about 75,000 homeless people live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and more than 46,000 within the city limits.Los Angeles Homeless Authority. California in general is home.half of all Americans are homelessaccording to the federal government.

The county is reaching out to people, particularly those who live in parks or near waterways, to provide temporary housing, Luna said. The sheriff's department is mapping the encampments and doing aerial reports on the upcoming storm, as well as having response teams on the scene, she said.

"We hope the storm will cause no damage and more importantly no fatalities," the sheriff said. "But we will prepare for the worst case scenario, not only to help people here in our county, but if we are not impacted or impacted, we will be a resource to other neighboring counties when needed."

Tropical activity in the Atlantic is increasing

Hurricane Hilary could bring more than a year of rain to parts of the Southwest | cnn (2)

Areas monitored by the National Hurricane Center for possible tropical development.

Not to be outdone by the eastern Pacific, the Atlantic is bracing for a spectacular increase in tropical activity in the coming days. Four separate problem areas span the entire basin west of the Cape Verde Islands to the Gulf of Mexico.

Of greater importance to the United States is an area in whichextremely warm Gulf of Mexicowhere weather conditions may converge to support tropical development next week. An area of ​​low pressure may slowly form in the basin, intensifying to tropical characteristics over the western Gulf by midweek.

Three separate areas are found in the tropical Atlantic. An area of ​​disorganized showers and thunderstorms west of Cape Verde could become a tropical depression over the weekend and further intensify into a tropical storm. Another severe weather area to the west could become a tropical depression early next week. Another area near the Lesser Antilles has little chance of acquiring tropical features.

CNN's Eric Zerkel, Taylor Ward and Monica Garrett contributed to this report.


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