Tropical Storm Hilary Causes Flash Floods in California

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Tropical Storm Hilary made its historic arrival in California after wreaking havoc in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The storm unleashed furious flash floods in California, causing widespread damage and prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in Southern California.

Flash flood warnings were in effect until Monday morning in the region, which is more accustomed to drought. Mountain and desert areas received an unusually high amount of rain, with some areas experiencing 5 to 10 inches of rain—equivalent to what they typically receive in a year.

The San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles and coastal areas in Ventura County were particularly affected by the storm. San Bernardino County ordered evacuations in several towns as torrents of water, mud, rock, and trees flooded the area.

In Wrightwood, California, the rain caused trees and mud to wash down a hill in Sheep Canyon. In Oak Glen, one of the evacuated towns, floodwater threw trees, mud, and rocks into the air.

Ventura County faced life-threatening flooding as up to 2 inches of rain fell within two hours. Swift water rescues were conducted in the community of Spanish Hills, where cars were stranded.

Palm Springs, a desert getaway in Riverside County, experienced significant rainfall in a short period. Streets quickly became flooded, highlighting the speed at which the storm was moving.

The storm has led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the rescheduling of professional sporting matches. The two largest school districts in California, Los Angeles Unified School District and San Diego Unified School District, canceled classes for Monday.

The flash flooding also caused the Los Angeles River, which usually has minimal water flow, to overflow. Rock slides in Ocotillo, located east of San Diego, led to traffic delays on Interstate 8.

Tropical Storm Hilary first made landfall in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, where nearly 1,900 people were evacuated to shelters. The storm posed a significant danger to low-income areas where many homes do not meet building codes.

The impact of the storm has been described as unprecedented by residents in affected areas. People have witnessed trees falling and considerable amounts of water rushing through their communities. The situation is a reminder of the vulnerability of these regions to extreme weather events.

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