California gets rare tropical storm warning from Hurricane Hilary, while the Southwest readies for heavy rain and floods.

Residents in the Southwestern United States are preparing for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Hilary, which is anticipated to bring heavy rainfall and potentially disastrous flooding. The hurricane, currently classified as a Category 4 storm, is heading towards Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula with sustained winds of 130 mph, as reported by the National Hurricane Center. It is predicted that the storm’s core will approach the peninsula on Saturday night and subsequently weaken to a tropical storm as it moves across the border into the United States and Southern California.

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This looming threat has led to the issuance of a unique tropical storm warning for California, extending from the state’s southern border to just north of Los Angeles. The Southwest region is projected to experience substantial rainfall over the course of the upcoming week, with the most intense conditions expected on Sunday and Monday, coinciding with the progress of Hurricane Hilary. The heavy downpours could result in a volume of rain that surpasses the annual average in certain parts of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Southern California and Nevada are likely to witness 3 to 6 inches of rainfall, with localized areas receiving up to 10 inches, according to the National Hurricane Center. Elsewhere, rainfall amounts ranging from 1 to 3 inches are in the forecast. While the core of Hurricane Hilary is expected to bring impactful conditions, the National Hurricane Center cautioned that strong winds and rain will manifest well before the storm’s central arrival.

In preparation for the impending storm, officials in the region have initiated measures to address potentially dangerous road conditions, potential disruptions in power infrastructure, and the risk of severe flooding. Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo announced the deployment of 100 state National Guard troops to southern Nevada in anticipation of significant flooding. President Joe Biden confirmed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has positioned personnel and supplies to respond to emergencies in Southern California and other affected areas.

Southern California is particularly focused on preparing for the incoming storm. If Hurricane Hilary makes landfall in the state as a tropical storm, it would mark the first occurrence of such an event in nearly 84 years, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Certain areas of Southern California face a notably high risk of excessive rainfall, categorized as the first Level 4 of 4 threat ever issued for the region. This level of risk is exceptionally rare, with high-risk situations accounting for a small percentage of days each year but causing a significant majority of flood-related damage and fatalities, according to Weather Prediction Center research.

Given the gravity of the threat, the state of California has readied water rescue teams, National Guard personnel, and flood mitigation equipment in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Hilary. Highway maintenance crews will also be available around-the-clock to ensure road safety. Southern California Edison, which provides electricity to over 15 million people in the region, is gearing up to respond to potential outages and is advising residents to gather essential supplies like flashlights, external battery chargers, and ice chests.

Due to the vulnerability of the homeless population to flooding, both Los Angeles and San Diego have initiated outreach efforts and are offering temporary shelter. Additionally, the LA County Sheriff’s Department is mapping out encampments at risk of flooding and making aerial announcements to inform the homeless community about the impending storm.

As the storm approaches, it is hoped that damage and loss of life can be minimized. Authorities are coordinating preparations to handle the worst-case scenario and to provide assistance not only within their own counties but also in neighboring areas if necessary. San Diego has been actively cleaning storm drains, clearing streets, and readying equipment in anticipation of the storm’s impact.

The storm threat has also led to adjustments in the Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer schedules for the weekend in the region, with rescheduling of games and matches to mitigate the potential impacts of the impending weather conditions.

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