An unprecedented tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of Los Angeles County as Hurricane Hilary approaches, with residents already being warned they may lose power, cable, and internet service when the storm makes landfall.
As a Category 4 hurricane, Hilary is anticipated to deliver potentially “life-threatening” rainfall across the Baja California peninsula.
While Hilary is expected to weaken to a tropical storm when it approaches Southern California, its potential impact remains significant.
The storm carries the risk of heavy rain that could cause flash flooding, along with powerful winds.
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The tropical storm watch, which covers Catalina Island and parts of northern Los Angeles County, was first issued today (Aug. 18).
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), this warning is a first for the Southern California region. The last tropical storm to hit the state was in 1939.
Usually, tropical storms weaken to regular storm status as they approach the southwestern U.S.
But according to Elizabeth Adams, a meteorologist for the NWS, that isn’t happening this time around.
“We are expecting this to maintain tropical storm intensity as it moves into Southern California,” she told the L.A. Times.
Forecasters warn the impending storm could bring the possibility of evacuation orders due to flooding, as the heavy rainfall might transform small waterways into “dangerous rivers,” and trigger runoffs in mountain valleys that could lead to landslides and debris flows.
Drivers should also remain vigilant, as streets and parking lots could flood, making for treacherous road conditions and prompting closures.
During a news conference Friday afternoon, an LAPD spokesman advised motorists to slow down on wet roads.
City officials said residents should call non-emergecy number 311 if they see downed trees.
Beach areas are already preparing for the impact, setting up sandbag stations and advising residents to secure outdoor items and prepare for possible power outages by keeping their cell phones and other necessary devices charged.
In addition, some L.A. County residents have already been warned by their cable and internet providers that they may lose service during the storm.
On Friday afternoon, internet, mobile, and cable TV provider Spectrum sent out a notice to its customers ahead of the storm.
“We are preparing for potential service outages that may occur as a result of Hurricane Hilary. If you lose power during the storm, please contact your local utility company for updates. Once power is restored and conditions are safe, our technicians will resolve any service issues,” the alert read.
Moisture from Hurricane Hilary is expected to reach parts of eastern Los Angeles County on Saturday, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. However, the majority is projected to arrive between Sunday and Monday, accompanied by humid conditions and widespread showers.
Forecasters predict precipitation levels between 2 to 4 inches, with the potential to reach up to 6 inches in some areas.
Alongside the heavy rain, strong winds are anticipated, potentially reaching gusts of up to 60 mph in some areas. Coastal regions will face high surf, with waves of 4 to 7 feet predicted, along with strong rip currents.
Residents are encouraged to stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts and following social media feeds. While conditions are expected to improve by Tuesday, residual showers and thunderstorms could continue in the forecast for next week.
Watch a news report on Hurricane Hilary from KTLA below.
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