Miami, US, Aug 20 (EFE).- The United States National Hurricane Center has warned that the southwest of the country could see catastrophic flooding due to Hilary, a tropical storm that made landfall early Sunday in Baja California, northern Mexico.
Hilary, which on Sunday was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour, was heading towards the southwestern United States over land at 41 km per hour in a north-northwest direction, and was expected to reach southern California on Sunday afternoon.
Heavy rains have already been recorded in California, as well as in Nevada and Arizona.
Although it will weaken by the time it has reached the southwestern US, NHC meteorologists have warned of tropical storm conditions and possible “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” through Monday as a result of heavy rains in the region, where authorities have asked people to stay indoors and take precautions.
Residents of the mountain communities of Oak Glen, Forest Falls, Mountain Home Village, Angelus Oaks, and Northeast Yucaipa in San Bernardino County, California, have been under evacuation orders since Saturday afternoon.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in southern counties in anticipation of Hilary’s arrival, the first tropical storm to hit southern California in 84 years, according to local media reports.
Some 7,500 National Guard troops and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel have been deployed.
The beaches of the San Diego and Orange counties in California have been closed as a precaution.
Hilary is forecast to dump up to 15 centimeters of rain in the state.
In the city of Phoenix, Arizona, meteorologists were forecasting heavy rains throughout Sunday, while in Nevada, local authorities expect the storm to cause up to 18 centimeters of water in some parts, which would be a record in the state.
Hilary has already claimed one life, when a man tried to cross a creek in his car and was swept away by the current in the Mexican municipality of Mulegé, in Baja California Sur, local authorities reported.
The NHC has warned that dangerous flooding may occur as far north as the states of Idaho and Oregon.
National parks such as Death Valley and Mojave have been closed as an emergency measure, and even the firm SpaceX postponed the launch from California of a rocket with satellites on board.
According to the specialized website Flight Aware, this Sunday 80 flights that were to depart from terminals in southern California have been canceled. EFE