Storm Hillary hits the southwestern United States with heavy rain

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Parts of southern California and the U.S. southwest on Monday faced the threat of flash flooding along with landslides and mudslides after Storm Hillary dumped record-breaking rains overnight.

About 17 million Americans were under flood and high wind warnings, watches and warnings as the remnants of the storm moved north, bringing heavy rain from the California-Mexico border through Las Vegas and into parts of the Northwest, the National Weather Service said.

Palm Springs, California, was one of the hardest hit communities, with video footage posted on social media showing flooded streets and debris streams. Mayor Grace Garner told CNN that the city’s 911 emergency system was triggered by the storm.

“Right now we have flooding on all of our roads. There’s no way in or out of Palm Springs, and that’s the case for the majority of Coachella Valley. We’re all stuck,” she said during an interview on the network.

Heavy rains fell on Monday morning in many parts of the region, where record heavy rains had already fallen. Hillary was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone overnight.

Meteorologists said some mountainous and desert areas could see rain accumulations of up to 5 to 10 inches (12 to 25 centimeters) from the storm, as deserts usually see within a year.

The rain was expected to slowly dissipate throughout the morning in Southern California, but officials warned residents not to let their guard down because dangerous floods could wash away roads and flood neighborhoods.

“Ongoing and historic amount of rain is expected to cause life threatening local catastrophic flooding, urban flooding and in Arroyo including landslides, mudslides and debris flows today,” the Meteorological Service said.

About 400 flights in and out of airports across the Southwest were canceled or delayed Monday morning, including 100 landings and takeoffs from San Diego International Airport, according to

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for much of Southern California while President Joe Biden ordered federal agencies to move personnel and supplies to the area.

Before hitting the southwestern United States, the storm passed north through Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. It killed at least one person in Mexico and caused flooding and washed out roads.

It crossed the border Sunday afternoon, hitting San Diego County with the first-ever tropical storm on record, and becoming the first tropical storm to hit Los Angeles County since 1939.

As the region gathered for a storm on Sunday, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck Southern California north of Los Angeles.

In Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, Fire Department Captain Brian McGrath on Monday told CNN that the bulk of the rain has passed through the county without any significant road closures, though authorities were looking for any additional storm or earthquake damage such as fallen trees. . .

Reporting by Reuters staff. Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Alistair Bell and Jonathan Otis

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