Hurricane Hilary Weakens to Category 1 as It Approaches Mexican Peninsula

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — The formidable Hurricane Hilary has reduced in strength to a Category 1 hurricane as it steadily advances towards the Baja California peninsula. While its force has diminished, the National Weather Service has issued a stern warning, stating that it still poses a significant risk of “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding for the region and will eventually transition into a tropical storm as it crosses into the southwestern United States.

Hurricane Hilary

 

 

Experience the spectacle of the impending storm as Hurricane Hilary moves towards Mexico’s Baja coast, bringing with it a torrent of lethal rain

Approaching Mexican Coast

As of the most recent advisory at 2 a.m., Hurricane Hilary was positioned approximately 30 miles (45 kilometers) south of Punta Eugenia, Mexico, and about 385 miles (625 kilometers) from San Diego, California. The hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speed remains constant at 85 mph, and it continues to disperse “heavy rains” across the peninsula.

Lingering Danger Despite Weakening

Despite its weakened state, meteorologists emphasize that Hurricane Hilary remains a formidable threat. Tragically, on Saturday, a fatality occurred in the Mexican town of Santa Rosalia on the eastern coast of the peninsula. A vehicle was swept away in a surging stream, leading to one casualty. Four others were fortunate enough to be rescued. While it is not immediately clear if the incident is directly linked to the hurricane, local officials have shared videos depicting torrents of water inundating the town’s streets.

Historical Event for Southern California

Weather forecasters are still anticipating that Hurricane Hilary will enter the history books as the first tropical storm to make landfall in Southern California in 84 years. This ominous forecast includes predictions of flash floods, mudslides, isolated tornadoes, high winds, and power outages. In response, authorities have issued an evacuation advisory for Santa Catalina Island, urging both residents and beachgoers to leave the popular tourist destination located 23 miles (37 kilometers) off the coast.

Potential for Intense Rainfall

It may rain up to 3 inches (7.62 centimetres) per hour in Southern California’s mountains and deserts, according to Elizabeth Adams, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s San Diego office. This intense rainfall during the coming hours could lead to widespread and life-threatening flash floods.

State of Emergency Declared

In response to this looming disaster, California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency. Officials have strongly urged residents to complete their preparations before sundown on Saturday, emphasizing that by Sunday, it may be too late to do so.

Continued Climate Disasters

Hilary joins a list of major climate disasters that have wreaked havoc across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Just last week, Hawaii’s Maui Island experienced a devastating wildfire that claimed over 100 lives and ravaged the historic town of Lahaina, marking it as the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century. Meanwhile, in Canada, firefighters are still battling record-breaking wildfires.

Impacts on Mexico and the Southwestern U.S.

Prior to its anticipated border crossing on Sunday, Hurricane Hilary has already brought extremely severe rain and flooding to Mexico and the southwest of the United States. Forecasters have issued warnings that it could unleash as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, equivalent to a year’s worth of rainfall in some areas, in southern California and southern Nevada.

Continued Threat and Precautions

Jamie Rhome, the U.S. National Hurricane Center’s deputy director, emphasized during a Saturday briefing that the storm’s weakened status should not lull anyone into complacency. He stated, “Don’t let the weakening trend and the intensity lower your guard.” Meteorologists also anticipate that the storm will generate “life-threatening” surf and rip currents, with waves possibly reaching heights of up to 40 feet (12 meters) along Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Safety Measures Across the Region

Numerous people have gathered in storm shelters in the twin resorts of Los Cabos, which are located at the southernmost point of the Baja peninsula, in response to the looming danger. Meanwhile, in Tijuana, authorities ordered the closure of all beaches and set up half a dozen storm shelters at sports complexes and government offices. Mexico’s navy has undertaken the evacuation of 850 individuals from islands off the Baja coast and has deployed nearly 3,000 troops for emergency operations.

U.S. Warnings and Evacuations

The Pacific coast, interior mountains, and deserts of Southern California are all covered by tropical storm and possible flood advisories provided by the U.S. hurricane centre. Evacuation warnings have been issued for several mountain and foothill communities by the San Bernardino County sheriff, while Orange County has sent out alerts to residents living in wildfire burn scars in the Santa Ana Mountains’ Silverado and Williams canyons.

Preparedness Efforts and Closures

Authorities in Los Angeles have been working diligently to get homeless individuals off the streets and into shelters. Additionally, officials have ordered the closure of all state beaches in San Diego and Orange counties. Municipalities in the area have run out of free sandbags, and a rise in people hoarding necessities has been seen in food stores.

Impacts on Leisure and Business

The impending hurricane has also disrupted leisure and business activities. Major League Baseball has rescheduled three Sunday games in Southern California, moving them to Saturday as part of split doubleheaders. SpaceX, the private aerospace manufacturer, has delayed the launch of a satellite-carrying rocket from a base on California’s central coast until at least Monday.

Presidential Concern and Call for Caution

The White House has reported that President Joe Biden has been briefed on the latest preparedness plans in anticipation of the hurricane’s approach to the United States. In response, President Biden urged all residents in the hurricane’s path to take precautions and heed the guidance of state and local officials.

Hilary’s Fluctuating Strength

Hilary’s journey has been marked by fluctuating strength. Initially, it rapidly intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 4 major hurricane, with sustained winds peaking at 145 mph (230 kph). By early Saturday, it had weakened to a Category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph (185 kph) and further dwindled to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph (161 kph).

Anticipated Landfall

Hurricane Hilary was located 600 miles (965 km) south-southeast of San Diego, California, as of late Saturday afternoon. It was travelling at a pace of 17 mph (28 kph) in the north-northwest. The storm was forecast to pass close to Punta Eugenia on the Pacific coast before making a nighttime landfall on the peninsula about 200 miles (330 km) south of the Pacific port city of Ensenada..

Edit snipet.. Experience the spectacle of the impending storm as Hurricane Hilary moves towards Mexico’s Baja coast, bringing with it a torrent of lethal rain.

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