Tropical Storm Hilary Drenches Mexico and California, Unleashing Chaos with Flooded Roads and Stranded Cars
Tropical Storm Hilary Drenches Mexico and California, Unleashing Chaos with Flooded Roads and Stranded Cars

San Diego: Tropical Storm Hilary has wreaked havoc across Mexico's arid Baja California Peninsula, leaving streets submerged in deadly floodwaters before moving onto Southern California, where it inundated roads and toppled trees. Concerns are mounting that the storm's reach could extend as far north as Idaho, with the potential for flash floods.

Remarkably, forecasters have revealed that Hilary marks the first tropical storm to strike Southern California in an astounding 84 years. Its impact encompasses floods, mudslides, powerful winds, power outages, and even the potential for isolated tornadoes. Already, mountain communities have witnessed over 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) of rainfall, while the threat looms of more than a year's worth of rain in desert areas inland.

Hilary initially made landfall along the Mexican coast, affecting sparsely populated regions approximately 150 miles (250 kilometers) south of Ensenada. It then swept through Tijuana, a location prone to mudslides, menacing improvised hillside homes just south of the US border. The storm's trajectory has since progressed northward into inland desert areas, with the National Weather Service in Los Angeles issuing dire flooding warnings across populous mountain regions along the coast.

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As flooding inundated roads and neighborhoods across the affected regions, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school system in the nation, announced a Monday closure for all campuses. San Diego schools postponed their first day of classes to Tuesday.

Additionally, Hilary's visit to Southern California was accompanied by an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1, striking near Ojai. The earthquake's impact was felt widely and triggered smaller aftershocks.

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Hilary's far-reaching aftermath could extend to Western states, potentially delivering "once-in-a-century" rainfall to Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho. While the storm is expected to persist as a tropical storm into central Nevada before dissipating, its legacy looms large.

The storm's climactic impact comes as part of a series of major climate disasters that have affected the US, Canada, and Mexico. From wildfires in Hawaii to an unprecedented fire season in Canada, the region faces ongoing challenges.

As Mexico contends with closed beaches and opened shelters, residents grapple with the aftermath of the storm, which claimed one life in the town of Santa Rosalia due to a vehicle swept away in an overflowing stream. Mexican army troops have joined the recovery effort, clearing roads and addressing power outages.

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The storm's influence extends beyond the immediate impacted areas, invoking states of emergency declarations in Nevada and Arizona. President Joe Biden has expressed his readiness to provide federal assistance, urging residents to heed state and local official guidance.

In the face of this natural upheaval, some residents have demonstrated resilience. While flood warnings abound, surfers in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego, remained eager to ride the storm's colossal waves, a testament to the indomitable human spirit even in the face of such adversity.

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