California Braces For First-Ever Hurricane

Hurricane Hilary underwent rapid intensification in the Pacific Ocean, strengthening from a tropical storm to a large Category 4 hurricane in less than 48 hours.

CA Gets Ready For Cat 4 Hilary

Southern California is bracing for heavy rain as Hurricane Hilary continues to barrel up the Pacific coast, prompting many communities to prepare for severe flooding.

Hilary, currently a category 4 hurricane, is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reaches land, but experts still expect significant weather impacts through the weekend.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said a tropical storm watch has been issued for Southern California, the first time it has ever done that.

Hurricane watches and warnings were in effect for parts of the Baja California Peninsula, and tropical storm watches were in effect for parts of mainland Mexico and Southern California, including the area stretching from the California-Mexico border to the Orange County-Los Angeles County line and for Catalina Island.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

Hilary had sustained winds near 145 mph (230 kph) early Friday, and was expected to strengthen a bit more before starting to weaken. It nevertheless was expected to still be a hurricane when approaching Mexico’s Baja California peninsula on Saturday night, and a tropical storm when approaching Southern California on Sunday.

No tropical storm has made landfall in Southern California since Sept. 25, 1939, according to the National Weather Service.

“This could [bring] rare and life-threatening flash flooding in the heaviest areas of rainfall. That is especially going to be prevalent Sunday evening through Monday morning,” Elizabeth Adams, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in San Diego said.

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