Tropical Storm Hilary Threatens California With ‘Life-Threatening’ Flooding



Tens of thousands were without power in Southern California on Sunday night after Tropical Storm Hilary brought damaging winds and the threat of “life-threatening flooding” to the region, prompting warnings across the state and as far north as Oregon and Idaho.

The center of the storm made landfall in Southern California near Palm Springs on Sunday night after passing through Mexico. Emergency officials urged residents across the state to stay indoors and off flooded roads, and schools in Los Angeles and San Diego canceled classes on Monday.

“THIS IS LIFE THREATENING FLOODING!!!!!!” the Los Angeles office of the National Weather Service wrote on Sunday night. The agency declared a flash flood warning for parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties into early Monday morning.

“You do not want to be out driving around, trying to cross flooded roads on vehicle or on foot,” Michael Brennan, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said during a news briefing, per The Associated Press. “Rainfall flooding has been the biggest killer in tropical storms and hurricanes in the United States in the past 10 years, and you don’t want to become a statistic.”

Maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph, but weather officials expected the storm to weaken into a post-tropical cyclone by early Monday. Large parts of California and Nevada were expected to see 3 to 6 inches of rain, with some areas experiencing up to 10 inches in total.

The intensity of the storm and the fact that a hurricane was heading toward California at all has already sparked concerns from climate scientists who have long warned such events will only become more frequent and more severe as climate change continues. It’s too soon to say if Hilary was made more severe by our warmer world, but researchers released a shocking report in 2020 that found climate change is already making hurricanes stronger.





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