California prepares for an approaching storm Hilary's entry

California is bracing itself for tropical storm Hilary, which is bringing fierce winds and flooding to Mexico's Pacific coast. The storm made landfall in the northern part of Mexico's Baja California peninsula at 11:00 local time (18:00 GMT) on Sunday, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). It warned that Hilary could cause "life-threatening" floods in both Mexico and the US. In Mexico, 18,000 soldiers were placed on standby earlier to assist in rescue efforts. The man who died in Baja California was in a car with his wife and children, local officials said, and his family survived.

In Santa Rosalia, on the eastern coast of Baja California, dramatic videos have emerged showing powerful torrents of muddy water cascading down the main street. Residents have been putting out sandbags across California, including in Long Beach and Palm Springs. Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass called it "an unprecedented weather event," but Los Angeles has deep experience responding to crises whether it be wildfire or earthquakes. Nearly 26 million people in the south-western US are under flood watch.

Hilary was downgraded to a Category 1 storm after weakening on Saturday, but officials kept up their warnings. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 240 miles (390 km) from its center, according to the NHC. Nancy Ward, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said Hilary could be one of the worst storms to hit the state in more than a decade. Up to 10 inches of rain is expected in parts of Mexico, California, and Nevada, and there is a risk of tornadoes from mid-morning through Sunday evening in parts of the Colorado River Valley, Mojave Desert, and Imperial Valley.

As the storm approached, Major League Baseball rescheduled three games in southern California, while SpaceX postponed the launch of a rocket from its base on the central California coast until at least Monday. The National Park Service closed Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve in California to prevent visitors from being stranded in the event of flooding. Extreme weather has recently caused chaos across North America, with the deadliest wildfire in modern US history spreading across Hawaii on 8 August, killing at least 111 people.


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