Hurricane Hilary now powerful Category 4 hurricane, ‘significant’ impacts expected in California, Southwest

Heavy rain associated with Hurricane Hilary is also expected to impact California and the Southwest starting Saturday and lasting through early next week, with peak impacts expected on Sunday and Monday.

As of Friday at 8:00 A.M., Hurricane Hilary remains a large and powerful Category 4 Hurricane barreling toward the Southwestern U.S. Continuous coverage has moved here. 

Hurricane Hilary rapidly intensified into a Category 4 cyclone on Friday, and forecasters said that the hurricane's path means the storm could bring "significant" impacts to Southern California and the Southwest by the weekend and into the first part of next week. 

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), rapid intensification occurs when a tropical cyclone's maximum sustained winds increase by at least 35 mph in a 24-hour period

"Rainfall impacts from Hilary within the Southwestern United States are expected to peak this weekend into Monday," the NHC said in an advisory. "Flash, urban and arroyo flooding is possible with the potential for significant impacts."

Ocean water temperatures off the coast of California remain cool, so influence should diminish the intensity of Hurricane Hilary if the forecast track brings the storm to the Golden State. What forecasters are keeping an eye on will be the abundant tropical moisture that could be flowing into California, Nevada and Arizona.

Here's a closer look at Hurricane Hilary.


Where is Hurricane Hilary?

The latest on Hilary.
(FOX Weather)


Hurricane Hilary is located about 400 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It is moving to the west-northwest at 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph.


What is the forecast for Hurricane Hilary?

Hilary's forecast track.
(FOX Weather)


The NHC said Hurricane Hilary is expected to turn to the northwest on Friday morning before turning northward over the weekend 

On the expected path, the center of Hurricane Hilary will approach the Baja California peninsula on Saturday.


What are the impacts of Hurricane Hilary?

"Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 290 miles, the NHC said.

The Mexican government has issued a series of weather alerts for the entire coast of the southern Baja California peninsula.

A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane-force high winds (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding and/or river flooding.

A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when tropical storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the alerted area within 36 hours. And a Hurricane Watch is issued when winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 48 hours.

These winds may also be accompanied by storm surge and flooding.

Alerts from the National Hurricane Center.
(FOX Weather)


Large swells generated by Hurricane Hilary will affect portions of the southwestern Mexico coast and the Baja California peninsula over the next few days, according to the NHC. The swells are also likely to cause life-threatening surf and potentially deadly rip currents.

As Hurricane Hilary spins closer to the U.S.-Mexico border, millions of people living in Southern California and the Southwest will need to keep an eye on a surge of tropical moisture expected to impact the region.

Tracking Hilary.
(FOX Weather)


Hurricane Hillary is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 3-6 inches, with possible higher amounts of up to 10 inches across portions of the Baja California peninsula through Sunday night. Flash flooding, which can be locally significant, will be possible, the NHC warned.

Heavy rain associated with Hurricane Hilary is also expected to impact California and the Southwest starting Friday and lasting through early next week, with peak impacts expected on Sunday and Monday.


Rain forecast amounts.
(FOX Weather)


Forecast rainfall totals of 2-4 inches, with some amounts of up to 8 inches, will be possible across portions of Southern California and Southern Nevada. Between 2-3 inches of rain could also fall across portions of western Arizona.

The NWS already issued a Flood Watch for Saturday morning to Monday afternoon. Las Vegas, San Diego, Palm Springs, Newport Beach and Los Angeles are all included.

"A substantial moisture surge driven by Hurricane Hilary will result in several days of moderately heavy rainfall over the weekend into early next week," states the Flood Watch. "Impacts will become more significant with each passing day as soils saturate, resulting in increased runoff."

The NWS issued a Flood Watch from Saturday Morning through Monday afternoon.
(FOX Weather)


Hurricane Hilary may impact supply chain, expert warns

Hurricane Hilary is predicted to impact the supply chain in southern California over the weekend and early next week, says Jon Davis, chief meteorologist at Everstream Analytics.

"This is noteworthy because it is extremely rare for southern California to be impacted, in any way, by a tropical system," he told FOX Weather. "Impacts include disruptions at the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles as well as the metro areas of San Diego and Los Angeles."

Davis also mentioned that heavy rains and flash flooding will primarily affect the Imperial Valley, which supplies agriculture, livestock, and the mining of lithium.

Hurricane Hilary impacting space launch operations from California

Due to the proximity of the hurricane to the water off of Southern California, SpaceX allotted to postpone the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with Starlink satellites.

The event was expected to take place on Friday morning, but the private space company said it would attempt another launch next week, if weather conditions improved. 

Weather conditions at Vandenberg Space Force Base north of Los Angeles were in the 60s with minimal wind on Thursday, but Elon Musk's SpaceX said it needed calmer seas in Pacific to ensure safe recovery operations of the booster.