According to the US National Hurricane Center, although Hurricane Hillary is weakening to Category 2 on the 5-level hurricane scale, the storm is intensifying more than expected. The storm was moving with maximum sustained winds of 177 km/h and was located more than 1,000 km southeast of San Diego.
Hurricane Hillary is expected to weaken as it continues to move north-northwestward through cooler waters south of California.
Lifeguards fill sandbags ahead of Hurricane Hillary in Long Beach, California. Photo: New York Times
Hurricane Hillary could still be the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years, according to forecasters, bringing with it flash flooding, landslides, tornadoes, high winds and widespread power outages.
Heavy rainfall is expected in the southwest region early next week. Hurricane Hillary could drop more than a year’s worth of rain in the area over the next few days.
Meteorologists also fear the storm will produce “life-threatening” currents along Mexico’s Pacific coast, including waves up to 12 meters high.
Authorities called on people to complete the preparation work before sunset (local time) on 19 August, as if left until 20 August, it would be too late.
Mr. Jamie Rome, deputy director of the US National Hurricane Center, said in a press conference on August 19: “Lowering storm surge levels does not reduce the risk, especially the risk of flooding. Do not let the storm subside. Weak trends and storm surges The intensity catches you off guard.”
Although Hurricane Hillary is weakening to Category 2, the storm is intensifying faster than expected. Photo: KSNV
The Miami-based Hurricane Center has issued tropical storm and possible flood warnings for Southern California from the Pacific Coast to the mountains and interior desert. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning for several mountain and foothill communities ahead of the storm.
US President Joe Biden said the Federal Emergency Response Agency personnel and supplies are ready in the field. Across the region, cities have run out of free sandbags and grocery store shelves are empty as residents stock up on essentials.
Meanwhile, according to the news agency AP, in Tijuana (a border city with Mexico’s population of 1.9 million), fire department director Rafael Carrillo warned that if you hear noises or cracks in the ground, get out as quickly as possible. This is because the ground may become weak and the house may collapse.
The Tijuana government ordered the closure of all beaches on August 19 and set up dozens of storm shelters at sports complexes and government offices.