Hilary could be the first tropical storm to hit California in more than 80 years

Hurricane Hilary, a Category 4 storm, is expected to hit California as a tropical storm, marking the first such event since 1939, with forecasts predicting destructive winds and heavy rainfall.

Forecast specifics: The National Hurricane Center predicts Hilary will hit Baja on Sunday as a hurricane, reducing in strength as it moves further north and impacting Southern California as a tropical storm across the weekend and into Monday.
* The storm’s monsoonal rains are expected to cause flash, urban and arroyo flooding, potentially leading to “significant impacts”.
* Southwestern California, including San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties, will be under a flood watch from Saturday night through Monday night.

Historical context: The last tropical storm to hit California was on September 24, 1939, resulting in considerable damage and loss of life.
* This storm resulted in significant flooding, with the Eastern Coachella Valley under 2 feet of water and Los Angeles receiving more than 5 inches of rain in 24 hours.
* The storm led to the deaths of 45 people on land, with another 48 people killed at sea.
* This disastrous event led to the establishment of a Southern California forecast office in February 1940.

Storm strength: Meteorological records indicate that the only known hurricane to hit the West Coast struck San Diego on October 2, 1858, featuring winds as high as 75 mph, which is just above the minimum threshold for a hurricane.

View original article on NPR

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