'We weren't made for this.' Tropical Storm Hilary Hits California With Heavy Rains, Catastrophic Flooding | CNN (2023)

Editor's Note:Our storm covercontinue here.


After arriving in Mexico early on Sunday,Tempestade tropical Hilarycrossed into California, where it is causing heavy rains and turning roads into creeks as authorities warn of potentially deadly flooding.

“We are not used to this level of precipitation, in general. Certainly not in the middle of summer," San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria told CNN's Jim Acosta Sunday afternoon, saying he was concerned about potential power outages caused by wind as well as flooding. "We weren't made for this kind of rain."

Authorities across Southern California urged residents not to drive, warning of mudslides, road deterioration and dangerous debris flows and flooding, as some communities declared emergencies to respond to the storm. A California official warned that Hilary could be among the most devastating storms to hit the state in recent years.

The National Weather Servicetheseparts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties were already experiencing "dangerous flooding" on Sunday night, writing on social media: "THIS IS A LIFE-THREATENING FLOOD!"

'We weren't made for this.' Tropical Storm Hilary Hits California With Heavy Rains, Catastrophic Flooding | CNN (1)

A motorist removes belongings from his vehicle after becoming stuck on a flooded street in Palm Desert, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 20.

(Video) Tropical Storm Hilary moves across SoCal as officials urge public to stay indoors

The cars were stuck in the floods and the local authorities carried out rescues, the servicethese.

Hilary's core - in other words, its center - crossed into southern California on Sunday night, but the state began to feel the effects of the storm more intensely. earlier in the day and rainfall totals increased. Parts of Palm Springs saw more than two inches of water in just six hours on Sunday — nearly half the full-year average, the weather service said.these.

And since the day isn't over yet, several other rain records were broken on Sunday, including in downtown Los Angeles, Burbank and Palmdale.

In Palm Springs, the city administrator declared a local emergency due to "unprecedented rainfall and flooding," with city officials saying a quick water rescue had already taken place on Sunday afternoon.

Live Updates: Tropical Storm Hilary Brings Major Flood Risk to California

While the storm is expected to weaken, it will continue to pummel the region with severe weather as it makes its way into the US.

In Arizona, authoritiespublishedevacuation orders in parts of Lake Mead National Park, urging residents to seek higher ground before possible flooding. And Nevada's governor declared a state of emergency on Sunday as the storm approached.

More than 1,000 flights in, in or out of the US were canceled on Sunday and more than 4,900 were delayed. The three most impacted airports are all within Hilary's reach: Harry Reid International Airport in Nevada, San Diego International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, according toFlightaware. com.

And as Hilary triggered flood warnings in Los Angeles,a magnitude 5.1 earthquakerocked the area and other parts of Southern California on Sunday afternoon, according to theUnited States Geological Survey.

Millions face flash flood threat

More than 7 million people, including those in downtown Los Angeles, are under flood warnings as of Monday morning. Parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties could see up to 1.5 inches of rain per hour, according to the National Weather Service.these.

(Video) Tropical Storm Hilary Update & Forecast

San Diego Unified School District Schoolsannouncedthey would be postponing the first day of the school year to Tuesday. The Los Angeles Unified District, the second largest school district in the country, alsothesethe schools would be closed on Monday.

weakened hilary from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm before making landfall north of the Baja California Peninsula early on Sunday.

At least one death is already attributed to the storm. One person died when their vehicle was dragged near Santa Rosalía, Mexico, along the Baja California Peninsula, Mexican officials said in a news release on Saturday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed aemergency stateSaturday to a large part of Southern California to support hurricane response and recovery efforts.

At a press conference on Saturday, Nancy Ward, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, warned Hilary "could be one of the most devastating storms to hit California in over a decade."

Storm is 'unprecedented' event, says Los Angeles mayor

Parts of California, Nevada and Arizona that are not used to rain could suddenly receive a year's worth or more. And along the coast, large waves generated by Hilary are likely to create potentially fatal wave and riptide conditions.

Death Valley saw its average August rainfall triple in just a few hours on Sunday morning. Nearly a month of rain fell in an hour on Sunday. It normally receives an average of 0.21 inches of rain for the entire month of August, but the Furnace Creek observation site has reported 0.63 inches since Sunday morning.

Roads within Death Valley National Park were expected to eventually become "impassable," the park said on Instagram, sharing photos that showed floodwaters flowing in. roads.

'We weren't made for this.' Tropical Storm Hilary Hits California With Heavy Rains, Catastrophic Flooding | CNN (2)
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Floods from Tropical Storm Hilary cover a road in Death Valley National Park in Sunda.

The threat triggered California's first tropical storm warning, stretching from the southern state border all the way north to Los Angeles - presenting an "unprecedented weather event" for a city with "deep experience" in responding to natural disasters like wildfires and earthquakes, said Mayor Karen Bass. at a press conference.

“It is critical that Angelenos remain safe and at home unless otherwise directed by security authorities,” said Bass. “If you don't need to be on the road, please don't get in the car. Make sure your emergency kit and essential devices are close at hand. And make sure all your devices are charged in case of a life-threatening emergency.”

Shoppers stock up on supplies at a supermarket during the blackout following Hurricane Ida in New Orleans on September 2, 2021. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images Gulf Coast officials are scrambling to prepare for two weather disasters that combine deadly way

Residents of Oak Glen, Forest Falls, Mountain Home Village, Angelus Oaks and Northeast Yucaipa communities in San Bernardino County were allordered to evacuateSaturday.

Visitors and some residents of Catalina Island, part of California's Channel Islands, were "strongly encouraged" to leave the island before the storm, in aPress releasefrom the city of Avalon.

Meanwhile, helicopters fromLos Angeles County Sheriff's Officewere flying over riverbed areas on Saturday afternoon, making announcements in both English and Spanish to alert homeless people to extreme weather.

Los Angeles opened three more emergency shelters on Sunday and provided transportation to help get more people to safety ahead of the storm — bringing the total number of emergency shelters open to eight.

'We weren't made for this.' Tropical Storm Hilary Hits California With Heavy Rains, Catastrophic Flooding | CNN (4)
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A vehicle swallowed by water passes through the entrance to a flooded highway in Palmdale, California.

Concern about deserts and recently burned areas

California has been particularly focused on preparing residents in areas that typically receive less rainfall or that have recently been ravaged by wildfires, officials said.

“We are looking at our desert regions east of San Diego and Los Angeles. Some parts of these areas can receive twice the annual amount of water in a single day," said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of theCalifornia Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

'We weren't made for this.' Tropical Storm Hilary Hits California With Heavy Rains, Catastrophic Flooding | CNN (5)

A mailbox sits on a flooded residential street in Palmdale, Calif., as the storm approaches the area, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023.

Lingering scars from burns caused by wildfires can create a steep, slippery surface for water and debris to flow through. People living on slopes and downstream from burned areas are very susceptible to flash floods and debris flows.

"Rain that would normally be soaked up will run off extremely quickly after a wildfire, as burned soil can be just as water-repellent as pavement," the National Weather Service said.

Emorange county, a voluntary evacuation notice was issued for Silverado Canyon and Williams Canyon in the burned area of ​​Bond Fire due to possible debris flows along or near the burn scar.

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Residents have been offered sandbags to fortify their properties in Southern California counties where some of the natural flood protection has burned down.

Mary Gilbert, Cheri Mossburg, Norma Galeana, Chris Boyette, Josh Campbell, Raja Razek, Elizabeth Wolfe, Taylor Ward and Zoe Sottile of CNN contributed to this report.


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