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Potentially Devastating Hurricane Hilary Threatens California Coast with Heavy Rainfall

There hasn’t been a hurricane on the California coast for 26 years. Hurricane “Hilary” could change that on Sunday – and bring huge amounts of water with it.

It took “Hilary” just 48 hours to go from a small tropical cyclone to a level four hurricane, the second-highest measurement level. And this hurricane is currently rushing at 225 kilometers per hour towards the Mexican and US west coast and is expected to make landfall on Saturday evening German time. Also in their luggage: amounts of rain that the dry soil cannot absorb.

“Hilary” can even reach the highest hurricane level five. Then the hurricane would be faster than 250 kilometers per hour. Houses and bridges are threatened with destruction, ships could be washed hundreds of meters ashore, coastal areas would be flooded. A flood warning is in effect in California.

El Niño fuels hurricanes

Southern California hasn’t seen anything like it in 26 years. Hurricane Nora last hit California in 1997 and led to record rainfall, even inland in the US state of Arizona, which is known for its dryness.

“Hilary” is the result of two unfortunate circumstances: A heat wave in the interior of the USA pulls the hurricane north, the hurricane gets its energy from the changed ocean currents. Such violent cyclones are otherwise unusual for the Pacific. The water here is usually cooler than in the Atlantic. The weather phenomenon El Niño, which is currently occurring again on the Pacific equator, provides the necessary energy for the hurricane.

100 times 250 liters per square meter

During the night from Saturday to Sunday, the hurricane is expected to make landfall on the Baja California peninsula, which belongs to Mexico. One night later, from Sunday to Monday, he will move across California. The metropolises of San Diego, Palm Springs and Los Angeles are located on the southern coast of California.

Hurricanes bring a lot of water with them. Even in the otherwise dry hinterland, in Death Valley and in Las Vegas in the state of Nevada, it is said to rain between 100 and 250 liters of water per square meter. These quantities otherwise fall in this region over a period of several years. The dry soil should not be able to absorb the large amounts of water. This threatens flash floods.

Climate change worsens storms

Climate change also has an impact on the amount of water that hurricanes bring with them. In a warmer world, more moisture can collect in the air, which is why storms bring heavier rainfall.

In addition, storms over the seas have slowed down over the past few decades. This allows them to absorb more moisture from the ocean. Slower storms also disperse more water over a given location.

2023-08-18 16:00:42

#Flood #catastrophe #threatens #California #Hurricane #Hilary #moving #Mexico #USA

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