Hurricane Hilary: Bay Area unlikely to see severe weather from storm as it takes aim at SoCal

Dustin Dorsey Image
Friday, August 18, 2023
Bay Area unlikely to see severe weather from Hurricane Hilary
Hurricane Hilary doesn't look like it will pose any severe threat to the San Francisco Bay Area but forecasters warn things can quickly change.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As Hurricane Hilary makes its way north off the coast of Central America, it appears to be on a direct path with California.

People in the Southern part of the state may see heavy rains and flooding but we aren't going to see as many impacts in the Bay Area and Northern California.

LIVE: Tracking Hilary's current path as it moves toward CA

This past winter, California had many days that looked and felt like we were in the middle of a tropical storm or a hurricane.

But this weekend, Hurricane Hilary is about to show us what it's actually like.

"Hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific that develop and become calm are not, not rare at all," National Hurricane Center Deputy Director Jamie Rhome said. "This is pretty typical in that regard, especially since we are in an El Nino season. The Pacific tends to be very, very active. The uniqueness here is the track towards Southern California."

As Hurricane Hilary strengthens to a major hurricane, ABC7 Meteorologist Drew Tuma forecasts warm ocean water and low pressure will slingshot Hilary up Baja California.

Late this weekend, it will likely weaken to a tropical storm and make landfall along the Southern California coastline.

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"Drew, I've covered tropical storms and hurricanes on the East Coast, but you don't often hear them hitting on the West Coast, right?" ABC7 News Reporter Dustin Dorsey asked.

"I mean, Dustin, this is really significant," Tuma said. "This would be the first potential tropical system to make landfall in more than 80 years. So, you could see why many people are really interested in this pretty rare event."

Tumas says the biggest hazard will be rainfall in Southern California.

Desert areas like Palm Springs which only average five inches of rain per year, could see several inches of rain that could lead to serious flooding.

Rhome says how much rain falls depends on how strong Hilary is when she makes landfall.

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"If it moves over or very close to the Baja peninsula, it could weaken a little bit more than we currently anticipate," Rhome said. "Likewise, if it moves a little bit more offshore and is more of a glancing blow for the Baja peninsula, then it might not weaken quite as much."

So what might this all mean for the Bay Area?

Tuma says we should avoid the rain from the storm, but if you thought this week was sticky and humid it may only get worse.

"We'll probably just notice on Monday and Tuesday of next week that the Humidity is back up again," Tuma said. "We have those tropical clouds overhead."

But keep an eye on the forecasts because storms like this change quickly and we could see more impacts if it does.

Watch the latest AccuWeather forecast and take a look at recent weather stories and videos.

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