Hurricane Hilary could be 1st tropical storm to hit CA since 1939. Here's how it'll impact the state

ByDrew Tuma, Sandhya Patel KGO logo
Friday, August 18, 2023
Hurricane Hilary intensifies to Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds
The current track has Hilary moving into California on Monday as either a tropical storm or a weaker tropical depression.

SAN FRANCISCO -- A newly-formed hurricane named Hilary is making its rounds in the headlines. It will likely strengthen into a major hurricane, with the possibility of making landfall as a tropical storm in California. There will be a threat of flooding rains across Southern California from Sunday through Tuesday.

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


As of 11 p.m. Thursday, Hilary is a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph.

It is expected to further strengthen.

Then Hilary will rapidly weaken as it enters cooler ocean waters and interacts with the mountain terrain of Baja California Sunday.

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The current track has Hilary moving into California on Monday as either a tropical storm or a weaker tropical depression.

If Hilary does make landfall in California as a tropical storm, it would be the first tropical storm to do so since 1939.


Hurricanes require ocean temperatures above 80 degrees to survive. Hilary is currently sitting in 85-degree water and will remain in those warm waters through Saturday. As Hilary moves closer to Baja California, ocean temperatures will quickly cool into the 70s and eventually the 60s along the California coast.

That temperature drop may not seem like a lot but ocean temperatures in the 70s will essentially kill Hilary and water in the 60s will never support a tropical system. Thus, we see a very rapid weakening as the system approaches the California-Mexico border.

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The moisture from Hilary will bring the possibility of flooding in Southern California. Flood Watches will go up this weekend.

Rough surf will also be an issue on Southern California beaches which could lead to beach erosion.


The Central Valley is forecasted to have remnants of rain and thunder from Hurricane Hilary by Monday and Tuesday.

Portions of the south valley could first experience rainfall by Monday morning. The rest of the Central Valley will see a chance of thunderstorms by Monday afternoon.

ABC30 Action News is tracking Hurricane Hilary and will continue to update with any updates on the upcoming rain.


The current track of Hilary keeps the bulk of the moisture in Southern California and the Sierra but, we still have a possibility of seeing a few showers Monday and Tuesday. Remnants of Hilary will bring higher humidity and tropical cloud cover between Sunday and early next week.

We will monitor the track of this storm and any small shifts would mean an increased chance of rain here. That is something we will fine-tune in the coming days.

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

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