Major Hurricane Hilary Could Be First Topical Storm To Hit California Since 1939

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Aug 18, 2023 - 12:45 PM

Hurricane Hilary strengthened into a powerful Category 4 hurricane overnight, and new forecasts show it could be the first tropical storm to impact Southern California in nearly a century. 

The National Hurricane Center said Hilary was just south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph as of 0300 ET. While the storm is expected to weaken as it moves northward, it could bring heavy rainfall to the southwestern US and high surf along the coast.

Computer models and National Weather Service forecasts show Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah could receive between 2 to 10 inches of rain from the tropical system over the weekend. 

"Hilary has the potential to bring significant impacts to the Baja California Peninsula and portions of the southwestern United States this weekend and early next week, including after it becomes post-tropical," NHC said. 

It added. "Although it is too soon to determine the location and magnitude of wind impacts, interests in these areas should monitor the progress of Hilary and updates to the forecast."

NWS' field office in San Diego warned about flash flood risks for Sunday night. 

If Hilary has enough energy to make landfall in Southern California as a tropical storm this weekend, it'll be the first in 84 years. The last tropical storm made landfall in Long Beach in 1939.