Rain in August? Hurricane Hilary is on its way to Southern California – Orange County Register

A tropical storm building off of Mexico’s west coast was upgraded to hurricane strength on Thursday, Aug. 17, bringing with it the potential for unusually strong winds and and even more unusual — August rainfall — over Southern California this weekend and into next week.

Hurricane Hilary was expected to upgrade to category 4 by the weekend, impacting the Baja California Peninsula with wind speeds of about 120 mph off of the coastline on Saturday, said National Hurricane Center Deputy Director Jamie Rhome.

The storm is expected to lose strength as it gets closer to Southern California over the weekend and moves into cooler ocean waters, with wind speeds dropping to about 70 mph by Sunday night and 40 mph by Monday evening.

It was still uncertain on Thursday whether the path of the tropical storm would reach Southern California.

The last time a tropical storm made landfall in the region was in 1939, when El Cordonazo — also referred to as The Lash of St. Francis — touched down near Long Beach, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. The storm caused 93 deaths across the region, including 45 people who died in flooding on land and another 48 who were lost at sea.

Riverside County will see rainfall as early as Saturday morning and into the evening with heavy winds of up to 30 to 45 mph potentially arriving in the evening and into Sunday morning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Elizabeth Adams.

Cities including Moreno Valley and Corona will potentially see two to three inches of rainfall over the weekend, with the mountains feeling the brunt of the storm with about four to eight inches of rain, and wind speeds of up to 40-65 mph.

The deserts, including the Coachella Valley, are expected to receive four to seven inches of rain — exceeding the six-inch average rainfall the area sees within a year, Adams said.

San Bernardino County will also receive similar heavy showers, for four to eight inches in the mountains, and two to three inches in the inland areas.

Temperatures, in triple digits in some Inland Empire cities on Thursday, were expected to drop into the low to mid 80s by Saturday and into Sunday, Adams said. Still, residents can expect high humidity as the storm approaches.

Orange County will feel the effects of the storm, too, with two to three inches of rain dropping as early as Saturday afternoon and into the evening, according to Adams. Strong winds — up to 30 to 45 mph — will blow across the county starting as early as Sunday and peaking on Monday.

In O.C, temperatures will hang around the high 70s to low 80s for most of the weekend.

Los Angeles County will likely see the effects of the storm by Sunday morning with the potential for one to two inches of rain, and up to four to five inches in the mountains and valleys, according to NWS meteorologist David Sweet. Wind speeds of around 35 mph will arrive Sunday afternoon or evening, with the strongest gusts likely to be felt on Monday.

Residents are urged to avoid beaches along the coastline — especially southwestern and southern facing beaches — because of the potential for especially strong rip currents and high surf, Adams said.

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