Los Angeles, August 20: Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for a large area of southern California, as the state braced for a historic hurricane that is predicted to inflict heavy rain and floods, CNN reported. According to a release from his office, "more than 7,500 boots on the ground" have already been deployed to protect from the impact of Hurricane Hilary.
More than a year's worth of rain
“Today, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for much of Southern California to support Hurricane Hilary response and recovery efforts as the state continues mobilizing and coordinating resources ahead of the storm’s forecasted impacts starting today,” CNN reported quoting the release.
Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed state of emergency
According to the National Hurricane Centre, the storm, which could pour more than a year's worth of rain on parts of the Southwest, dropped from a Category 3 storm to a Category 2 storm as it moved into California on Saturday. According to the centre, the storm is still a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.
Storm already moving quicker than projected
The storm has accelerated and is already moving quicker than projected, at 17 mph, and is now 640 miles southeast of San Diego. Hurricane Hilary is predicted to weaken more as it heads north-northwest through colder waters towards Southern California.
Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding
Residents in the Southwest are ready for "catastrophic and life-threatening flooding" as the system is anticipated to wreak havoc on the region as a rare tropical storm, with the worst effects likely on Sunday and Monday, as reported by CNN.
Flooding rain from the storm
Flooding rain from the storm will begin to fall ahead of Hilary's core of heavier winds. According to the National Hurricane Centre, those winds could reach as early as Sunday morning, along with more abundant and damaging rainfall.
“Hilary has sped up a bit, along with a slight shift eastward in its track. This results in Sunday morning through Sunday evening being the time frame of most impact,” the National Weather Service in San Diego said.
Threat prompts California to issue its first tropical storm warning
The threat has prompted California to issue its first tropical storm warning, which extends from the state's southern border to just north of Los Angeles. As Hurricane Hilary approaches, the Southwest is expected to get heavy rain through early next week, with the most intense conditions on Sunday and Monday.
First such storm in nearly 84 years
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records, if Hilary makes landfall in California as a tropical storm, it will be the first such storm to hit the state in nearly 84 years, according to CNN.
Southern California at high risk of extreme rainfall
Parts of Southern California are at high risk of extreme rainfall, which is also the area's first Level 4 of 4 threat. This level of danger is extremely rare. According to Weather Prediction Centre data, from 2010 to 2020, high risks were issued on fewer than 4 per cent of days per year on average but were responsible for 83 per cent of all flood-related damage and 39 per cent of all flood-related deaths.
In addition, Los Angeles County officials said that all county parks, aquatic centres, beaches, playgrounds, bathrooms, and trails will be closed Monday and Tuesday due to excessive rain and floods. A Sunday event at the Hollywood Bowl featuring My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes has been rescheduled in collaboration with the parks department, CNN reported.