An unprecedented tropical storm, Hilary, has brought heavy rains to California from Mexico, along with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour. Experts warned of potentially life-threatening flooding in the southwest region of the United States, which is typically dry.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the southern region of the state. He took to social media to address the residents that could potentially be affected by the terrible weather, writing, "Stay safe, California." The hurricane, which was very rare for southern California to experience, initially reached category 4 - the second most-powerful on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. "Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding likely over Baja California and portions of the southwestern US through Monday," the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned of the storm. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass revealed, "This is an unprecedented weather event."
Due to the effects of the storm, beaches along the state's southern coast were closed and residents hurried to local stores stock up on food, water, and other essentials. The hurricane gradually slowed down as it moved in the direction of Tijuana, a city located on the Mexican border. However, US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) insisted that residents of southern California must remain cautious and take the potential dangers of the storm very seriously.
In response to the storm, authorities opened five storm shelters and lined up more than 7,500 personnel, including hundreds of National Guard soldiers. In San Diego, residents were reportedly preparing for possible flooding, while lifeguards warned people to avoid the area's beaches. To add to the bad news, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake also hit the southern part of California, near the town of Ojai, making already-anxious residents even more nervous. Thankfully, the incident resulted in no damages or casualties. However, hurricane Hilary remains a potential threat to the area. Scientists have given several warnings about the role that climate change could play in storms like Hilary. "We have to also look at what is the change in the climate doing to these severe weather events," Criswell, the FEMA administrator, told CNN on Sunday. "What is the risk going to look like into the future." Stay tuned as we find out more about this devastating news.