First-ever tropical storm watch issued for Southern California as Hurricane Hilary closes in

First-ever tropical storm watch issued for Southern California as Hurricane Hilary closes in

Residents bracing for 'significant impacts' of powerful storm, including massive rainfall, flash flooding

By Darren Lyn

HOUSTON, United States (AA) – The US authorities issued a first-ever tropical storm watch for Southern California on Friday as Hurricane Hilary barrels toward the Baja California peninsula and the Southwest US as a powerful Category 4 storm.

The hurricane has sustained winds of 145 miles per hour (233 kilometers per hour), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), and is expected to make landfall in Mexico on Saturday before the system moves its way up through Southern California.

"Currently a powerful CAT 4 storm," the National Weather Service (NWS) in Los Angeles posted on X. "Hurricane Hilary will weaken into a tropical storm as it approaches Southern California this weekend. Expecting significant impacts for SoCal Sun-Mon."

Forecasters are predicting 3-6 inches (7.60-15 centimeters) of rain in many areas, including Los Angeles and San Diego, which are used to having virtually no rainfall at all during the month of August.

Forecasters said it is possible that some areas could get as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain (25-38 cm), which they emphasized could be the equivalent of getting several months' worth of rain in just a few days. That could wreak havoc in many communities and cause flash flooding and mud slides.

"A flood watch has been issued for LA and Ventura counties including Catalina Island, in effect from Sunday afternoon through Monday evening," said NWS Los Angeles. "Residents on Catalina Island could be most vulnerable."

Heavy rainfall is also expected in Southern Nevada, including Las Vegas.

If Hilary makes its way into California as a tropical storm, it will be the first time that has happened in the US state in 84 years. A tropical storm last made landfall in Long Beach in 1939, according to the NWS.

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