Tropical storm Hurricane Hilary strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane on Thursday (Aug 17) as US weather experts expect it to bring heavy rainfall to parts of Southwest America after hitting Mexico.
By Thursday morning, Hurricane Hilary was located 530 miles (852 kilometres) southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, with higher gusts—an environment ripe for rapid intensification.
“Rapid strengthening is forecast, and Hilary could become a major hurricane by tonight or early Friday,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said recently.
As it continues to move in a west-northwest direction, Hilary is forecast to become a major Category 4 hurricane by late Thursday night or early Friday morning, US-based The Weather Channel reported.
But if it makes landfall in the US, the weather forecasters expect the hurricane to weaken.
California could see heavy showers
However, heavy rains are projected, especially in California, where several months’ worth of rain could fall in just one or two days, potentially causing flash flooding.
If Hilary makes landfall in California as a tropical storm, it’ll be the first one in 84 years.
And by Saturday and Sunday, the hurricane is expected to rapidly weaken as it moves over colder waters.
The NHC said that the storm may bring high winds, surf, and rain to southern California, and parts of Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico could also be affected.
The effects of the storm may start to be seen as early as Friday through the start of next week. The heaviest rainfall from Hilary within the United States is expected to peak on Sunday and Monday, according to NHC.
A climate scientist at the University of California at Los Angeles, Daniel Swain, told CNN that “multiple years’ worth of precipitation” could potentially fall in some of California’s driest areas.
Regardless of the flood danger, experts believe that the rainfall would combat drought and recharge groundwater across arid portions of the Southwest.
Drought conditions expanded in New Mexico and remained steady in California and Arizona this week, the US Drought Monitor reported Thursday.
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