Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in Baja California Sunday before traveling north to the U.S., bringing with it high winds and heavy rainfall that caused flash floods across Southern California.
The National Weather Service said the storm was centered about 400 miles north of San Diego early Monday, driving sustained winds of 35 mph as it spread across Nevada. Hilary could produce another 2 to 4 inches of rain in many areas, and isolated areas across portions of Southern California and Southern Nevada could see up to 12 inches through Monday, the weather service said.
"Across interior Southern California, road and rail line closures due to major flooding, washouts and mudslides are likely, putting a significant strain on infrastructure," said Dan DePodwin,AccuWeatherdirector of forecasting operations.
- Hurricane Hilary path: Live storm tracker
- Advisories: The latest from AccuWeather
- Power outages: See a map of the latest
Hurricane-turned-tropical storm Hilary, the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years, was on her way out of Ventura County by midnight.
“The majority of the heavy rain has passed Ventura County,” said Rose Schoenfeld, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “Although it’s still possible to see some showers still in there.”
Ventura County’s flash flood warning was extended from 7:45 p.m. Sunday until 3 a.m. early Monday not because of rain yet to fall, but due to “run-off concerns” with the sheer volume of water already dumped on the county, according to Schoenfeld.
“There was a lot of rain earlier,” Schoenfeld said. “More on the east side of the county.”
While much of Ventura and Oxnard received less than an inch of rain, central and eastern parts of the county were soaked.
Cal State University Channel Islands (3.68 inches), Moorpark (3.54), Somis (3.18) Thousand Oaks (3.02) and Westlake Village (3.00) received three inches or more of rain, according to NWS rain gauges.
That was due to a “rain band” that stalled over the eastern part of the county to Point Mugu from late afternoon to early evening, according to Schoenfeld.
“It’s probably going to blow most daily records out of a water,” Schoenfeld said.
As for wind, gusts were recorded from 30 to 45 miles per hour, mostly at higher elevations. The strongest wind of 53 mph was recorded at Boney Mountain. But its force waned after midday.
“We definitely had some damaging wind,” Schoenfeld. “There were downed power lines and trees… But the winds preceded the rain a little bit.”
As for the other notable natural event that occurred locally on Sunday, Schoenfeld admitted the 5.1 magnitude earthquake that rattled Ojai, Santa Paula and other parts of Ventura County at 2:41 p.m. was felt at the NWS offices in Oxnard.
“We felt that earthquake in the office,” Schoenfeld said. “It was definitely a lot happening at one time.”
Despite the catchy "Hurriquake" label that made its way around social media, Schoenfeld underscored that the two events were not related.
"Current science shows no relation," Schoenfeld said.
The flash flood warning for Ventura County, including Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, has been extended until 3 a.m. by the National Weather Service.
Rose Schoenfeld, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said the warning was extended “because of run-off concerns that we’re still seeing.”
A previous warning was set to expire at 7:45 p.m.
There are seven local school districts who have already started classes. All seven, including the Fillmore, Oak Park, Santa Paula and Simi Valley unified school districts, have posted that they will hold classes on Monday.
Oxnard Union High School District is still planning to hold classes Monday, according to a 6:45 p.m. social media post.
The Ventura County Community College campuses and Cal State University Channel Islands will also remain open Monday.
There were some downed tree limbs at Moorpark College's Teaching Zoo, but the zoo was closed and the animals were safe in their enclosures, per the zoo's Facebook page.
Residents of the three homes on Trueno Court in Camarillo, who were evacuated earlier Sunday, have been cleared to return home, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
The Ventura County Fire Department has received 21 calls for service regarding flooding since 1 p.m. Wood Ranch, Oxnard, Westlake Village, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Moorpark and Hollywood-by-the-Sea have been among the communities affected.
Just before 9 p.m., two homes in Leisure Village in Camarillo were under threat of flood waters. Authorities were deciding whether to evacuate residents.
There is a report of flooding on the Westlake Boulevard on-ramp of Highway 101 North, per CHP Moorpark.
The Ventura County Fire Department responded to a report of two people in the Santa Clara River yelling for help Sunday night.
The call came in shortly after 7:30 p.m., authorities said. A swift-water rescue team responded to the spot in the Fillmore area. As of 8:30 p.m., firefighters had rescued two people. A third person was unaccounted for. The search continues.
At 8:36 p.m., VCFD also responded to a second swift-water rescue call at the Santa Clara River bridge in Saticoy.
Little rain typically falls this time of year in Southern California. Virtually every place in the region where it rained Sunday likely has broken a record for daily rainfall for August 20, said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
In Oxnard, the 0.77 of an inch of rainfall recorded as of 6:45 p.m. broke the old record of 0.09 of an inch set on Aug. 20, 1983, according to preliminary figures from the agency.
Authorities have issued an evacuation order for three homes in the area of Grada and Trueno avenues near Camarillo because of flooding.
The area has previously flooded during winter storms after an underground storm drain pipe broke. The Ventura County Fire Department responded to the most recent calls around 5:45 p.m. Sunday.
Ventura County may have reached the height of the rainfall expected from Tropical Storm Hilary, but moderate to heavy bursts may continue through 8 or 9 p.m. Sunday, forecasters said.
The center of the tropical storm appeared to be around the Orange County coast as of 6 p.m., said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
"It is moving northward," he said. "It should move just east of L.A. County this evening."
Ventura County was getting a lot of heavy rain over the past hour or so, he said. More than an inch of rain was recorded in some spots in the Camarillo area in just two hours, according to preliminary figures.
The storm is expected to start tapering off to light to moderate rainfall later Sunday night.
Authorities received a report that a vehicle was trapped in floodwaters at Center School Road and Highway 118 around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
The water level apparently had reached the vehicle's doors and someone was still inside, said Chad Cook, deputy chief from the Ventura County Fire Department. A swift-water rescue team was responding, he said.
The department also had several weather related calls in Camarillo, Santa Rosa Valley and eastern areas of the county over the past few hours. Some had reported minor flooding inside their homes.
The Ventura County Fire Department responded to reports of flooding around 5:45 p.m. on Trueno Avenue near Camarillo. Initial reports said several homes were affected and may be temporarily evacuated.
The spot also had flooding problems earlier this year after an underground drain pipe broke. It was one of several areas county officials sent notifications to residents before the storm.
Roadway flooding in other areas also has been reported.
Here is a list of the National Weather Service warnings issued in Ventura County as of 5:30 p.m.
- Flash flood warning set to expire at 7:45 p.m. for Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Oak Park, Ojai, Oxnard, Piru, Port Hueneme, Point Mugu, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Somis and Thousand Oaks.
- Southeastern and northern parts of the county are under a tropical storm warning.
Wind gusts exceeded 50 mph Sunday afternoon in the western Santa Monica Mountains. The National Weather Service reported some of the strongest gusts recorded in the county on Sunday as of 1:30 p.m.
Here are some examples:
- Boney Mountain: 53 mph
- Camarillo Airport: 44 mph
- Deer Creek Canyon: 42 mph
- Simi Valley Hospital: 35 mph
- Point Mugu: 33 mph
- Oxnard Airport: 30 mph
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Santa Paula, Fillmore and Ojai shortly before 4:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a social media post.
People should avoid walking or driving through floodwaters, the message said. The warning was set to expire at 7:45 p.m.
Rainfall totals as of 3 p.m. showed more than 2 inches had been recorded at Lake Piru Sunday. That's according to preliminary figures from the Ventura County Watershed Protection District.
Rainfall in others areas included:
- Camarillo: 0.07
- Fillmore: 0.18
- Lake Piru: 2.13
- Matilija Canyon: 0.24
- Moorpark: 0.80
- Ojai: 0.40
- Port Hueneme: 0.09
- Santa Paula: 0.21
- Simi Valley: 0.94
- Thousand Oaks: 0.37
- Ventura: 0.22
As residents prepared for wind and rain Sunday afternoon, an earthquake shook the county. The estimated 5.1 magnitude quake struck a few miles southeast of Ojai, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Ventura County sheriff's Office of Emergency Services said assessments were underway. No immediate issues were reported.
Water levels may rise in local streams and rivers because of the storm, but the Santa Clara River likely will see some higher flows.
The amount of rain falling east of the county, including in the Santa Clarita area, likely will mean more water in the river locally – a delayed effect of the storm, officials said.
The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for much of Ventura County shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday.
Moderate to heavy rainfall was spreading over eastern parts of the county. Flooding on roads and in small streams was expected, particularly in areas that are low lowing or have poor drainage, the agency said. The advisory was set to expire at 8:30 p.m.
Moderate to heavy rainfall was expected to spread into western parts of the county later Sunday afternoon.
The National Weather Service released the top rainfall amounts over the past 24 hours as of 11 a.m. Sunday. Here were the Ventura County totals in inches:
- Rocky Peak: 0.20
- Simi Valley: 0.05
- Westlake Village: 0.03
- Piru: 0.12
- Lake Piru: 0.09
- Lockwood Valley: 0.35
- Chuchupate: 0.16
- Sycamore Canyon: 0.04
Ventura County authorities had issued no evacuations as of Sunday afternoon. But they had notified residents insome areas more vulnerable to flooding.
Those include spots hit hard by winter storms such as Camp Chaffee Road north of Ventura, Grada and Trueno avenues in Camarillo, and Matilija Canyon north of Ojai.
The track of Tropical Storm Hilary has hugged the coast, but as it moves inland, it will start to lose its source of moisture and weaken, forecasters said. On Sunday morning, Hilary was moving quickly toward the north.
"It is starting to move up really quickly and weakening as it does," said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
By the time, the system reaches Ventura County, it is not expected to be a tropical storm. But a tropical storm warning is still in effect for much of northern and eastern parts of the county. The heaviest rain was expected to reach the county between 3 p.m. and midnight, Wofford said.
Rain connected with Tropical Storm Hilary has started moving in to Ventura County. By mid-morning Sunday, some rain was falling and gusts were blowing in the foothills around 30 mph.
The center of the fast-moving storm was still south of the California border, the National Weather Service reported. Meteorologist Joe Sirard said the rain would spread from eastern areas such as Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley to western Ventura County as the day progressed.
He expected winds of 20 to 30 mph to develop on the coast of Ventura County in the evening with speeds increasing to around 30 mph in the mountains and foothills.
From Sunday through Monday morning, forecasters expect 1 to 3 inches across the county. Higher amounts are expected in the mountains. Flooding is still possible if the rain falls in a short amount of time, Sirard said.
The National Weather Service reported the top rainfall amounts over the past 24 hours as of 10 a.m. Sunday. Here were the Ventura County totals:
- Lockwood Valley: 0.35
- Chuchupate: 0.16
- Sycamore Canyon: 0.04
The National Weather Service warned drivers to expect severe impacts to travel conditions on the Grapevine through Monday.
The agency posted on social media that dangerous driving conditions are possible on Interstate 5 near the Tejon Pass and other mountain roads. Those could include strong crosswinds, heavy rain, dense fog and mudslides, the agency said.
Sunday's Wings Over Camarillo air show was canceled because of weather concerns as the tropical storm moves toward the area, the Ventura County Department of Airports posted on social media.
Airport officials said the Camarillo Wings Association decided to postpone, until 2024, the second day of the show due to expected conditions related to Hilary.
Elsewhere, officials at the Los Padres National Forest and California State Parks urged visitors to check the forecast or delay visits during the storm.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for much of Ventura County and all of Los Angeles County.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch in the two counties and warned that potentially dangerous flooding was possible particularly in mountain areas and foothills.
Residents were urged to prepare for hazardous winds that could:
- Damage to porches, awnings, carports, sheds and unanchored mobile homes.
- Broken tree limbs and some uprooted trees, with fences and roadway signs blown over.
- A few roads impassable from debris, particularly within urban or heavily wooded places.
- Hazardous driving conditions on bridges and other elevated roadways.
AccuWeather meteorologists warned that Hilary could slam some of the desert areas and mountains in Southern California to southern Nevada with a life-threatening flooding disaster. In San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, the sheriff's office issued evacuation orders for several towns.
Dan DePodwin, AccuWeather's director of forecasting operations, said some areas could see more than a year's worth of rain within a day or two.
“The impact from Hilary has the potential to be an extraordinary event, one that is rare and unprecedented," he said.
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Palm Springs braces for flooding
Farther inland in Riverside California, weather service meteorologist Elizabeth Adams said rain could fall up to3 inches an hourSunday near Palm Springs across the desert and mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley. The intense rainfall during those hours could cause widespread and life-threatening flash floods, Adams said.
National Weather Serviceplaced the Coachella Valley under a tropical stormwarning, emphasizing the potential for high winds and extreme flooding rain that “may prompt numerous evacuations and rescues.” Palm Springs Fire Chief Paul Alvarado urged residents not to ignore barricades and other warnings on local roads.
"Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas,” Alvarado said. “We want to avoid swift water rescues, which put the lives of both drivers and public safety at risk.”
Historic 'heat dome' poised to sweep nation
Meteorologist Ryan Maue said a "historic, climate-induced heat dome will absolutely demolish records" in coming days, peaking Thursday when 67 million Americans are forecast to see at least 100°F.
"Heat domes don't get names or categories yet," Maue said on social media. "But this one would be Category 5."
Newsom declares State of Emergency
In advance of the storm,Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a State of Emergencyfor much of Southern California Saturday evening to support the Hurricane Hilary response and recovery efforts as the state continues mobilizing and coordinating resources ahead of the storm's forecasted impacts.
Heavy rainfall and high winds were expected to begin Saturday and last through Monday. At the governor's direction, there were currently more than 7,500 boots on the ground deployed to help local communities protect Californians from the impacts of Hilary.
The governor also signed an emergency proclamation in San Diego while visiting with California National Guard troops. He met with first responders and local officials, including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. He was also in touch with federal officials, including the White House.
The Emergency Medical Services Authority has assets on standby, including California Medical Assistance Teams to augment local capacity, aid in evacuations and support medical needs in communities impacted by flooding. The EMSA was ready to assist with Ambulance Strike Teams as necessary to support local communities. The Flood Operations Center is activated and has prepositioned flood-fight materials should they be needed.
—City News Service
Contributing: Kate Franco, Palm Springs Desert Sun;The Associated Press