SAN DIEGO — California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency during a visit to San Diego on Saturday as Southern California residents are bracing for the impact of Hurricane Hilary.
According to the governor’s office, the emergency proclamation will help support local response and recovery efforts for the storm, which is anticipated to bring strong winds and heavy rainfall that could lead to significant flooding across the region.
“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,” Newsom said in a release. “We’re mobilizing all of government as we prepare and respond to this unprecedented storm.”
Hurricane Hilary — currently graded at as a Category 1 storm — is on its way north, moving up the coast of the Baja California peninsula. According to the National Weather Service, Hilary is expected to reach Southern California early Sunday as a tropical storm.
A Tropical Storm Warning — a first of its kind advisory for Southern California — was issued on Friday, meaning that tropical storm conditions like strong winds and heavy precipitation are expected to set in.
The heaviest rainfall for the region is expected to occur Sunday morning through Sunday night. Dangerous to “locally catastrophic” flooding will be likely during this timeframe, particularly for residents in mountain and desert neighborhoods, NWS explained.
Flood watches have been issued for some of these communities in the storm’s path that are vulnerable to heavy precipitation in the storm’s path. Local evacuations in the San Bernardino and Orange counties have been implemented.
A full list of communities under a flood watch can be found here.
A State Operations Center has been activated to monitor conditions and coordinate disaster response, according to the governor’s office.
More than 7,500 state personnel have been deployed ahead of Hilary’s landfall to aid in this response, Newsom’s office said, specifically in Southern California and the Central Valley communities acutely vulnerable to the storm’s impacts.
Dozens of high water vehicles and water rescue teams from the California Natural Guard, CAL Fire and the California Office of Emergency Services have also been prepositioned across communities in Hilary’s path, Newsom added.
For most of the region under the Tropical Storm Warning, officials stress roadways are anticipated to be a main point of concern, particularly in flood-prone areas.
According to the governor’s office, more than 2,000 Caltrans personnel have been working to install pumps and other equipment in flood-prone zones, as well as open emergency operation centers. California Highway Patrol has also staffed nearly 4,000 officers and other personnel for emergency response.
In San Diego, city crews have been working to clear storm drains and inlets with a history of debris build-up, sweep streets to reduce pollutants entering waterways, monitor pump stations and place “no parking” signs in low-laying areas at-risk for flooding.
“My ask of San Diegans is to prepare yourselves. Be apart of the solution,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in a press conference on Friday. “It will be a very significant storm event late Sunday through early Monday. We know that, we see that coming now, so let’s prepare.”