Hurricane Hilary 2023 live updates: Southern California communities preparing for heavy rain, severe flooding as path moves north

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 our area, but we’re still expecting significant weather impacts through the weekend.

WATCH LIVE: Track Hurricane Hilary’s projected path

Here are the latest updates:

SoCal communities preparing for heavy rain, severe flooding

Preparations were underway in communities like Seal Beach, where large sand berms were being erected to protect coastal homes against high surf. Crews were also handing out sandbags to residents as they’ve done for previous storms.

The brunt of the storm is expected to hit Sunday into Monday, with potential high surf, strong winds, dangerous rip currents, beach erosion and flooding. Officials are warning the public to not only stay away from the ocean, but also roads.

Coastal communities are not the only areas that are expected to be impacted by the storm.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch that will be in effect from Sunday afternoon through Monday evening across the entirety of Los Angeles County. A flood watch will be in effect from late Saturday night through Monday evening for Orange County coastal and inland areas, along with the Santa Ana mountains and foothills.

A flood watch will also be in effect from Saturday morning through Monday in the Riverside County mountains and valleys, the Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, along with San Diego County mountains, deserts, valleys and coastal areas.

Forecasters said the heavy rains could result in excessive runoff that might flood rivers, creeks and streams and cause debris flows in recent burn areas.

Hilary strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane

Hilary was upgraded to a category 4 hurricane Thursday night and is expected to rapidly strengthen as it moves north. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Hilary had maximum sustained winds of 140 mph.

The storm is on a projected path that threatens landfall on the central Baja California peninsula by Sunday or it’ll possibly keep just offshore and head for Southern California.

The hurricane center says there is a chance Hilary could still be a tropical storm or tropical depression by the time it reaches the U.S.

SpaceX cancels Thursday’s launch of Falcon 9 rocket

As preparations were underway across Southern California, SpaceX announced it canceled Thursday’s launch of its Falcon 9 rocket carrying its latest batch of Starlink satellites.

The company said the next launch would be no earlier than Monday, Aug. 21.

Unclear if Hilary will make landfall in SoCal

It’s still unclear whether Hilary will make landfall in Southern California as a tropical storm. The last time that happened was in 1939.

When that storm landed, it first hit Long Beach but created widespread damage, as seen in photos shared by the L.A. Public Library.

Some 45 people died in that storm, most by drowning. Hundreds of homes were damaged and destroyed, railroad tracks were torn away and a stretch of the Huntington Beach Pier was wiped out.

INTERACTIVE: Look up how climate change is forecast to impact your neighborhood

City News Service contributed to this report.

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