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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Hurricane Hilary Approaches

Tropical Storm Hilary, which formed in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico and is moving northwest, has strengthened into a hurricane and is expected to bring heavy rain and flash flooding to the southwestern US into next week. California, Nevada, and Arizona are forecast to receive 2 to 10 inches of rain, including in drought-stricken areas.

Hilary is the eighth named storm in the Pacific hurricane season this year and has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane as of this writing. Storms are considered hurricanes once winds reach at least 74 mph and become major hurricanes—those classified as Category 3 and above—once winds reach 111 mph or more. Hurricane Hilary is expected to turn into a Category 4 hurricane today before weakening to a tropical storm over the weekend as it approaches California. Track its trajectory here.

It is rare for a tropical storm system to make landfall in California due to typically cool waters; however, the El Niño weather pattern is fueling higher tropical activity this year. The last tropical storm system to make landfall in California was in 1939.

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