Hurricane Hilary has rapidly intensified to a Category 4 storm off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported sustained winds near 140 mph (220 kph) as of midnight, and predicts that Hilary will continue to strengthen until Friday morning before starting to weaken on Saturday.
Potential Impact on Southwestern U.S.
Heavy rain from Hurricane Hilary could potentially affect the southwestern United States by the weekend. As the storm approaches, tropical storm conditions are expected to affect the Baja California peninsula from late Friday. The projected path of Hilary poses a threat of landfall in the middle of the peninsula by Sunday, while it may also stay just offshore while heading towards Southern California.
Current Location and Movement
As of now, Hurricane Hilary is centered approximately 425 miles (685 kilometers) south of Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. It is moving west-northwest at a speed of 14 mph (22 kph). However, it is expected to gradually turn north through Saturday.
Alerts and Warnings
The hurricane center has issued a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning for parts of Baja California Sur state. This means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 36 hours, with hurricane conditions predicted within 48 hours. Additionally, a tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of Baja California state.
Possible Impact on the United States
If Hurricane Hilary makes landfall on the Baja peninsula or brushes past it, there is a possibility that it could briefly survive as a tropical storm or tropical depression and eventually cross the U.S. border.
It is worth noting that Southern California has not experienced a tropical storm landfall since September 25, 1939, according to the National Weather Service.
Rainfall Impacts from Hilary in the Southwestern United States
According to the hurricane center, the impact of rainfall from Hilary in the Southwestern United States is expected to peak over the weekend into Monday. There is a possibility of flash, urban, and arroyo flooding, with the potential for significant consequences.
Potential Affected Area
The area that could potentially be affected by heavy rainfall stretches from Bakersfield, California, to Yuma, Arizona, including certain parts of southern Nevada.
SpaceX Launch Delay
The launch of a satellite-carrying rocket by SpaceX has been postponed until at least Monday. The company has cited difficult conditions in the Pacific as a reason for the delay, as it could hamper the recovery of the rocket booster.
Excessive Rainfall Outlook in Southern California
The Los Angeles weather office has forecasted excessive rainfall in Southern California from Sunday to Tuesday.
Chance of Major Rain and Flooding in California
While the odds are against Hilary making landfall in California as a tropical storm, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain mentioned during an online briefing on Wednesday that there is a high chance of major rain and flooding.
Potential Landfall in Mexico
The Mexican government has stated that a weakened Hilary could make landfall on the coast between Playas de Rosarito and Ensenada in Baja California state on Sunday night.
Preparations in Yuma
The city of Yuma is making necessary preparations for the impact of Hilary by providing residents with a self-serve sandbag filling station. This station will be stocked with sand and empty bags for self-filling, while supplies last. Each vehicle is allowed a maximum of five sandbags.