California is starting to recover from Tropical Storm Hilary, which caused flooding, property damage, mudslides and toppled trees in its wake.

Recovery efforts begin in Southern California after Tropical Storm Hilary

1 p.m., Aug. 22, 2023

Hilary marks the first tropical storm to hit the area in 84 years, The Associated Press reported. As the weather pattern moved over the Rocky Mountains, weather experts expressed concerns about possibly “catastrophic flooding,” but the storm has calmed slightly as it progresses through the Southwestern regions, Utah, Idaho and Oregon.

Experts still warn to watch for possible “localized but significant flash flooding” as the storm passes through, per The Hill.

“Across portions of Oregon and Idaho, rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches with local maxima to 5 inches are expected through Tuesday morning,” the National Hurricane Center stated in the latest advisory.

Flood watches are listed for seven states, continuing since Monday, including:

  • Washington.
  • Oregon.
  • California.
  • Nevada.
  • Idaho.
  • Arizona.
  • Utah.

Areas most affected by the heavy rainfall, causing flash flooding concerns, typically experience long periods of drought and dry climates.

The desert cities Cathedral City, Indio and Palm Springs experienced downed power lines, complicating relief efforts Monday. One rescue involved a bulldozer driving through mud to a swamped care home, rescuing 14 residents “by scooping them up and carrying them to safety, according to AP.

Record rainfall hit Los Angeles over the weekend, but no deaths have been reported in the U.S. due to the storms yet.

“Fortunately, Californians listened to their local officials and took the necessary preparedness actions to help protect themselves and their families,” FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell told Reuters.

Tropical Storm Hilary drenches Southern California, moves through U.S.

1 p.m., Aug. 21, 2023

At least 17 million Americans were placed under flood and high-wind advisories, watches and warnings, in the regions, many continuing to watch from the weekend into Monday, Reuters reported. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in multiple counties in Southern California on Sunday.

Southern California streets experienced severe flash flooding, prompting the Los Angeles school district and other major school districts to cancel school Monday, according to CNN.

“Areas that normally do not experience flash flooding will flood,” the National Weather Service said, per CNN. “Lives and property are in great danger through Monday.”

Earthquake shakes Southern California as Tropical Storm Hilary makes landfall
Tropical Storm Hilary moves up through western U.S., bringing ‘catastrophic’ risk of flooding

Where is Tropical Storm Hilary headed next?

The storm continues to make its way through the U.S. and could be “the first tropical system on record to strike Nevada,” per CNN.

The downpour reportedly broke “virtually all rainfall daily records” in Los Angeles, according to NPR.

In three California cities, the impacts of the storm caused 911 lines to be knocked down, cutting off the people of Cathedral City, Indio and Palm Springs from being able to reach out for help, per NPR.

While rain is still affecting California and Nevada, the storm is expected to bring one to five inches of rain in regions of Oregon and Idaho through Tuesday morning, which could result in dangerous flash flooding in some of those areas, CBS News reported.

People walk along Venice Beach in the rain, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, in Los Angeles. Tropical Storm Hilary swirled northward Sunday just off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, no longer a hurricane but still carrying so much rain that forecasters said “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding is likely across a broad region of the southwestern U.S. | Ryan Sun, Associated Press

“My administration also deployed federal personnel to Nevada to ensure the state has additional support, and we will continue to coordinate with California, Nevada, and Arizona on any resources they might need,” President Joe Biden said, after requesting FEMA deliver personnel and supplies to those in need in California, per CBS News.

Prior to the storm striking the U.S., Hilary poured a total of 13 inches of rain on Baja California, Mexico, in 24 hours, leaving one person dead from the damage and one still missing, The New York Times reported.