SoCal braces for storms, flooding as Tropical Storm Hilary moves north

Flooding has already struck communities in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties as the eye of the storm strikes in Baja California.

Tropical Storm Hilary, previously a hurricane, is moving northward along Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and is expected to bring “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding to the southwestern United States.

The big picture: The storm is currently located about 220 miles (350 kilometers) south-southeast of San Diego and has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph).


  • Mexican cities Ensenada and Tijuana are directly in the path of the storm, and despite weakening, Hilary is still considered dangerous.
  • One person has already died in the Mexican town of Santa Rosalia due to the storm, with rescue workers managing to save four others who were swept away in overflowing streams.
  • Hilary is the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years, and authorities have issued evacuation advisories for Santa Catalina Island and warned about flash floods, mudslides, tornadoes, high winds, and power outages.
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom has proclaimed a state of emergency, and rainfall of up to 3 inches an hour is expected across Southern California’s mountains and deserts, posing a significant risk of flash floods.
  • The storm has already caused heavy rain and flooding in Mexico, prompting the Mexican navy to evacuate 850 people from islands off the Baja coast and deploy nearly 3,000 troops for emergency operations.
  • Mexico’s Pacific coast is also facing “life-threatening” surf and rip currents, with waves expected to reach up to 40 feet (12 meters) high.

Elsewhere: Communities in Southern California are preparing for the storm, with residents stocking up on supplies, municipalities running out of sandbags, and state beaches being closed.

  • Major League Baseball games in Southern California have been rescheduled, and the launch of a satellite-carrying rocket from California’s central coast has been delayed.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has officials inside California’s emergency preparedness office and is ready to provide assistance as needed.
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