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Californians Are Facing Their First Hurricane in 84 Years – Here’s How to Prepare

On Wednesday, Tropical Storm Hilary formed on the southwest coast of Mexico. The storm has since been upgraded to a Category 4 Hurricane that is set to hit Southern California today. Though the storm is expected to weaken before reaching land, the National Weather Service has stated that it is still expected to cause “significant impacts.”

With winds reaching up to 145 miles per hour, Southern California is bracing for the storm, which is said to make landfall in the area this weekend. Hilary is expected to downgrade back to a tropical storm before making landfall, and parts of California should expect to receive “multiple years’ worth of rains” over the course of three days. 

There are flash-flood warnings being issued from San Diego and Las Vegas. Just last year, Tropical Storm Kay wreaked havoc on parts of California, causing heavy rains and flooding without even making landfall.

Hilary will be the first major storm to make landfall in California since 1939, leaving many California residents with questions about what to expect. As the hurricane continues to move toward the Baja California Peninsula at around 13 miles per hour, there is a chance Hurricane Hilary becomes a Category 5 before being downgraded to a tropical storm.

Image by Bloomberg Creative

As the storm keeps moving towards Southern California, residents will want to build up a small emergency kit, including extra food and water, as well as extra medications and a first aid kit. Gather your important documents and keep them in a safe, dry place. Make sure you have flashlights and batteries in case of a power outage. If you have a generator, keep it at least six feet away from the home when using it. If you have pets, make sure you do research on pet-friendly locations, if it becomes necessary to evacuate.

A lot of preparation for the exterior of your home needs to be done with a bit more advanced notice, unfortunately. For next time, you should ensure that windows are made of tempered glass and that all doors to the exterior of the house are hurricane-proof. You’ll also want to seal outdoor wall openings and invest in storm shutters for your windows. 

Make sure that you cut any weak tree branches before the storm has a chance to take them down. You’ll also want to move all bikes, outdoor furniture, grills, and propane tanks to covered areas or even inside, if you can.
The storm will continue to intensify over the course of the day and will be causing rain into early next week. AXIOS reports that this weather pattern is unusual and has connections to human-caused climate change. Though this weather pattern could lead to significant destruction, the high volume of rain could help recharge groundwater supplies across areas of Southern California, New Mexico, and Arizona that have been facing drought conditions for the majority of the summer, says CNN.

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