Hurricane Hilary Expected to Maintain Hurricane Status Upon Reaching Baja California on Saturday

Anticipating Substantial Rainfall and Flooding as Hurricane Hilary Approaches Southern California

As Hurricane Hilary makes its way towards Southern California, meteorologists are forecasting significant heavy rainfall and the likelihood of extensive flooding in the region.

Having escalated to category 4 status on Friday, Hurricane Hilary is projected to maintain its hurricane classification upon arriving at the West Coast of the Baja California peninsula on Saturday night. Nevertheless, its strength is predicted to diminish, transitioning into a tropical storm as it nears Southern California by Sunday afternoon.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for select areas of Southern California for the first time, encompassing the stretch from the California-Mexico border to the Orange-Los Angeles County line, as well as Catalina Island.

As of Saturday morning, Hilary was situated approximately 240 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. The National Hurricane Center categorized the storm as “large and powerful,” boasting maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

Hilary has accelerated and exhibited a slight eastward deviation in its trajectory, as reported by the National Weather Service in San Diego early Saturday. This shift indicates that the most substantial impacts from the hurricane are expected to transpire from Sunday morning through the evening.

In light of these developments, the National Weather Service urges residents to secure their belongings around their homes and avoid driving on flooded roads.

Anticipated Arrival of Hilary in Southern California

The impending arrival of Hilary in Southern California has led to inquiries about its impact timeline. Although Hilary is undergoing a weakening phase as it approaches, sections of Southern California might start experiencing its effects as early as Saturday, as indicated by AccuWeather meteorologist Scott Homan.

“However, the storm’s impact will extend even before that, as a substantial amount of moisture is directed northward into the storm system and subsequently makes its way into California,” Homan informed USA TODAY.

The timeline for precipitation appears to be shaping up, with San Diego likely to encounter rainfall by Saturday evening. Meanwhile, residents of Los Angeles can anticipate rainfall beginning Sunday afternoon, as per Homan’s assessment. He also noted that urban areas including Los Angeles, Anaheim, Santa Barbara, and San Diego could receive around 4 inches of rainfall. On the other hand, desert regions like Palm Springs and the Sierra Nevadas face the potential for higher rainfall, ranging between 4 to 8 inches.

Hilary is anticipated to weaken, evolving into a Category 3 hurricane by late Saturday afternoon and subsequently transitioning into a tropical storm by Sunday afternoon.

Risk of Flooding Threatens Zion, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley National Parks

The potential for flooding is looming over some of California’s and Utah’s iconic national parks. Joshua Tree and Death Valley in California, along with Zion in Utah, face the risk of flooding as a result of the heavy rains brought by Hurricane Hilary.

Zion Canyon, renowned for its striking red cliffs, is projected to experience significant flooding on both Friday and Saturday, as outlined by the National Weather Service. The National Park Service has also taken precautions, issuing a flood warning for Zion and advising visitors to steer clear of slot canyons — narrow passageways enclosed by rock walls — until at least 6 a.m. MDT (8 a.m. EDT) on Saturday.

Critical areas within Joshua Tree National Park’s desert landscape were temporarily closed on Friday evening in anticipation of Hilary’s arrival. This included the closure of Geology Tour Road.

In an unusual turn of events, the typically arid expanse of Death Valley National Park may transform into a substantial lake, as indicated in a report by AccuWeather. Meteorologists predict that the park could face a rainfall range of 2 to 4 inches, significantly surpassing the annual average of less than an inch.

Communities Prepare for Hilary’s Arrival by Distributing Sandbags

Across various regions, from Seal Beach to the Coachella Valley, local emergency response teams are distributing sandbags to residents in anticipation of the threat of extensive flooding brought on by Hurricane Hilary.

In addition to providing sandbags, workers have bolstered sand berms along vulnerable coastal areas like Huntington Beach, aiming to shield them from the impact of winter surf.

Forecasts indicate that the Palm Springs area might encounter a substantial rainfall of approximately 5 inches, surpassing the usual annual precipitation for the region.