Hilary Brings Record Rains To California: ‘Unlike Anything Our Community Has Faced Before’
CATHEDRAL CITY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: A car is partially submerged in floodwaters as Tropical Storm Hilary moves through the area on August 20, 2023 in Cathedral City, California. Southern California is under a first-ever tropical storm warning as Hilary impacts parts of California, Arizona and Nevada. All California state beaches have been closed in San Diego and Orange counties in preparation for the impacts from the storm which was downgraded from hurricane status.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Parts of California have seen record rains from Tropical Storm Hilary after it made landfall on Sunday as Southern California faced its first tropical storm in more than 80 years. 

Hilary, previously a category 4 hurricane, first reached land on Sunday, hitting Mexico and Southern California. At least one person died in Mexico and the storm led to thousands throughout California losing power as officials declared emergencies. It was the first tropical storm to make landfall in Southern California since the 1930s.

The storm also impacted Nevada and Arizona, with President Joe Biden saying his administration would send personnel, supplies, and help with any rapid response and search-and-rescue operations. A magnitude 5.1 earthquake also shook parts of Southern California during the storm on Sunday afternoon, striking about 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the city of Ojai.  

“My Administration stands ready to provide additional assistance and will continue coordinating with California, Nevada, and Arizona. We will also continue monitoring the Southern California earthquake and any resulting impacts,” Biden posted on X. 

Local officials remind residents to be aware of local flash flood warnings as the storm loses its power. Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner told residents on Monday to stay home as the city announced that it had put a “temporary fix” in place after losing 911 emergency-call service during the storm. 

“Please stay home,” she said. “Yes, there’s going to be sun today, and that’s fantastic. However, we have a lot of clean-up to do, we need to assess the damage, and if the roads are clear that makes our job that much easier and we’re able to get those roads open much faster if people just stay in place.”


Not far away, a Facebook account for the City of Palm Desert said the storm “has been unlike anything our community has faced before.”

Early Monday morning, the National Weather Service said “all rainfall daily records have been broken” in the Los Angeles area, with some areas getting up to 7 inches. 

Death Valley National Park was closed due to flooding, with online footage showing fast-moving water flowing through the park. 

Before the arrival of Hilary, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom declared an emergency.

“California has thousands of people on the ground working hand-in-hand with federal and local personnel to support communities in Hurricane Hilary’s path with resources, equipment and expertise. We’re mobilizing all of government as we prepare and respond to this unprecedented storm,” Newsom said. 

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