Hurricane Hilary is expected to hit Southern California as a tropical storm, bringing heavy rainfall as early as this weekend after it makes its way up Mexico's Baja California Peninsula.
The Category 4 major hurricane with a sustained wind speed 130-156 mph is expected to cause ‘catastrophic damage’ in many areas in California. Power outages, home destruction, severe flooding is likely to follow the storm.
The storm is expected to produce three to six inches of rainfall, with maximum amounts of 10 inches, across portions of Baja California through Sunday night. Flash flooding warnings has been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).
Hurricane Hilary is expected to bring "rare and dangerous flooding" to the southwestern US as well.
National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued tropical storm warning for Southern California for the first time in region's history.
According to NWService, storm warnings were issued in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties and California's Catalina Island.
After hitting Mexico, the storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall with strong winds. However, NWS has predicted that its strength is likely to decline.
NHC in its advisory warned of “life-threatening and potentially catastrophic flooding likely over much of Baja California and the Southwestern U.S. this weekend and early next week.”
A tropical storm is defined as having winds of at least 39 mph.
Nearly 26 million people in the south-western US were under flood watch.
"On the forecast track, the center of Hilary will move close to the west coast of the Baja California peninsula over the weekend and reach southern California by Sunday night," said the hurricane center.
“We're looking at this to be a significant storm, possibly one of those that sets records, and so we're preparing accordingly,” said Chris Heiser, emergency services director of San Diego, was quoted by BBC.
President Joe Biden said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has deployed disaster force personnel and supplies in the region and the response team is also alert.
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo announced late Friday night that 100 National Guard troops had been activated ahead of Hilary.
Even Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said in a news briefing that "swift water rescue personnel and rescue aircraft are on alert and ready for immediate response."
In 2011, Hilary has struck the coast of Mexico, however, it did not cause any fatalities.
Due to the storm warning, major League Baseball has rescheduled three games in south California. The National Park Service also closed Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve in California.
It is "extremely rare" for a tropical storm to come off the ocean and make landfall in California, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in San Diego told the New York Times.