Hurricane set to target southern California and western Arizona
Hilary is then forecast to skirt the Baja California peninsula Saturday and Sunday making landfall somewhere near San Diego Monday. The storm will enter cooler water Sunday and Monday decreasing in strength though still delivering torrential rain, mainly to the mountains of southern California.
Several factors are making this a highly unusual situation. The presence El Nino and warm water off southern California have allowed for an anomalous low-pressure center to be wobbling off the coast which will firstly draw in Hilary, secondly the warm El Nino waters will allow the storm to remain intact. A tropical system has not made landfall in southern California since 1939.
For Arizona, it appears western portions of the state will receive the most beneficial rain from the storm with forecast of 1-3”. Lesser amounts of rain are forecast across the remainder of the state. Initial Hilary impacts will be felt Friday as a gulf of California moisture surge will bring wide spread heavy thunderstorms to the region The NWS has issued a Flood Watch for western AZ, including Flagstaff and Prescott Friday. Over the weekend expect extensive clouds and cooler temperatures with periods of moderate rain possible. Flooding will remain a concern across the Lower Colorado River communities as far north as Kingman.
Stay tuned to the latest forecasts as small variations in Hilary’s track could make huge differences to the forecast here in Arizona.