A historic tropical storm hit Los Angeles, marking the first time in over 80 years that the city experienced such severe weather. The storm brought heavy rains and flash floods to areas of Southern California, causing concerns about damage and public safety. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for much of the region, urging residents to stay safe. The storm, named Hilary, downgraded to a tropical depression but continued to pose a threat as it moved across Nevada. The storm had already caused significant damage in Mexico, leading to one death and triggering flash flooding.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass expressed her worry that people may underestimate the severity of the storm and neglect precautions. While the initial impact of Hilary seemed manageable, there was a risk of unexpected bands of the storm causing further damage to unprepared individuals. The storm’s arrival in San Diego marked the first tropical storm ever recorded in the county, while Los Angeles county had not experienced one since 1939. Evacuations were ordered in San Bernardino county, social media images depicted torrents of water, mud, rock, and trees, and there were warnings of life-threatening flooding in Ventura county.
The storm’s heavy rainfall also posed a significant threat to vulnerable populations and areas affected by wildfires. With more than 75,000 homeless people in Los Angeles county, officials expressed concern about their safety. Additionally, hillside canyons and recently burned areas were at an increased risk of landslides and further destruction. In response to the storm, U.S. President Joe Biden directed federal agencies to send personnel and supplies to the impacted region. As a precautionary measure, the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts canceled classes. The unexpected severity of the storm astonished residents, who witnessed flooded streets and fallen trees, leading many to stay indoors for safety.