Weather officials have issued hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for Baja California and northwest Mexico as Hilary’s center approaches the country through the weekend.

“This is the first-ever tropical storm watch issued for parts of Southern California,” said the National Hurricane Center. The watch extends from the California/Mexico border to the Orange County/Los Angeles County line.

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it has been nearly 84 years since a tropical storm hit California.

Hilary underwent incredible rapid intensification on Thursday, August 17th into Friday, August 18th, strengthening from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in just 24 hours. Hilary is forecast to remain a Category 4 as it approaches Mexico’s Baja California peninsula through Saturday.

Even though Hilary is expected to weaken before reaching Southern California and parts of the Southwest, the storm will bring heavy rainfall and increase flooding danger. The rain is expected to begin on Saturday and continue early next week, with the most intense downpours likely on Sunday and Monday.

Now is the time to prepare.

Here are Tips to Prepare Yourself and Your Loved Ones:

  • Prepare a family disaster plan and family disaster kit. For more information, go to or
  • Consider flood insurance, even if you’re not in a high-risk area.
  • Secure important business and/or family items, such as legal documents, photographs, jewelry, mementos, etc.
  • Assemble emergency supply kits for your workplace, home, and vehicle.
  • Purchase and maintain a generator in case severe weather causes power outages.
  • Purchase and maintain fuel supplies on your property for generators and/or cars in case power outages result in fuel supply problems.
  • If you use an automatic watering system, turn it off during the rainy season.
  • As we’re still in a drought, consider purchasing a rain barrel to catch water.
  • Make your business and home pest-proof if ants and other pests invade during rainy weather.

*List partly derived from L.A. Times, “28 Things to do to prepare for El Nino rains this season.”

For more information on what to do before, during, and after a tropical event, visit Tidal Basin’s Hurricane Resource Center. The Center includes vetted and sourced preparedness information and safety tips.