The National Weather Service has warned that Hurricane Hilary is approaching California. A turn toward the northwest and north-northwest is expected today and tonight, followed by a faster motion toward the north Saturday night and Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Hilary will move close to the west coast of the Baja California peninsula over the weekend and reach southern California by Sunday night.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 145 mph (230 km/h) with higher gusts. Hilary is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Fluctuations in intensity are likely over the next day or so. Weakening is expected to begin by Saturday, but the National Weather Service said Hilary will still be a hurricane when it approaches the west coast of the Baja California peninsula Saturday night and Sunday. Hilary is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Sunday afternoon before it reaches southern California.
Hilary is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated maximum amounts up to 10 inches, across portions of the Baja California Peninsula through Sunday night. Flash flooding, locally significant, will be possible.
Heavy rainfall in association with Hilary is expected to impact the Southwestern United States through next Wednesday, peaking on Sunday and Monday. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts of 10 inches, are expected across portions of southern California and southern Nevada, which would lead to significant and rare impacts. Elsewhere across portions of the Western United States, rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected.
The National Weather Service also warns that a storm surge could produce coastal flooding along the western Baja California peninsula of Mexico near where the center passes the coast in areas of onshore winds, or east of the center if Hilary makes landfall. The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.