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Rare Tropical Storm Set to Test Preparedness and Resilience of California and Nevada

As Hurricane Hilary bears down on the Southwest, residents are bracing for a potential disaster as the storm threatens to bring heavy rains and catastrophic flooding to the region. This rare turn of events has prompted unprecedented warnings and preparations, with California facing its first-ever tropical storm warning.

Currently a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130 mph, Hilary is making its way towards Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, with its core expected to pass near the peninsula before weakening into a tropical storm. The storm’s path is set to cross into the US, impacting Southern California and beyond.

The looming threat has forced the issuance of the first-ever tropical storm warning for California, spanning from the state’s southern border to just north of Los Angeles. The potential consequences of this weather event are monumental, with the Southwest bracing for heavy rainfall through early next week. Sunday and Monday are expected to bring the most intense conditions, with some areas facing the possibility of receiving more than a year’s worth of rain.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts that parts of Southern California and Nevada could see 3 to 6 inches of rain, and in certain locales, up to 10 inches are possible. While the storm’s core is set to bring powerful winds, the center emphasizes that strong winds and heavy rain will commence well in advance of its arrival.

Authorities across the region are taking proactive steps to minimize the impact of the impending storm. Nevada’s Governor Joe Lombardo has deployed 100 state National Guard troops to southern Nevada in anticipation of significant flooding. President Joe Biden also confirmed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has positioned personnel and supplies to respond swiftly if needed.

Southern California, in particular, is mobilizing resources to tackle the potential hazards. This includes the preparation of water rescue teams, National Guard personnel, and flood-fighting equipment. Highway maintenance crews will be on hand 24/7 to ensure roadway safety. The homeless community, a particularly vulnerable group, is being offered outreach and temporary shelter to mitigate the flood dangers.

Electricity utility Southern California Edison, serving over 15 million people, is making efforts to prepare for possible outages and is urging residents to gather essential supplies. Both Los Angeles and San Diego are actively clearing storm drains, streets, and offering necessary assistance to their residents. The concern is real, prompting the rescheduling of Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer matches to ensure safety.

As Hurricane Hilary’s approach prompts unprecedented caution and preparations, the Southwest is poised to face the challenges head-on. The resilience of these communities will be put to the test, highlighting the importance of collaboration and readiness in the face of Mother Nature’s fury.

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