Long Beach, News

Hurricane Hilary to bring heavy rain and flooding to Southern California

By: Anthony Orrico, Samuel Chacko and Maya-Claire Glenn

For the first time in 84 years, a hurricane is going to make landfall in Southern California. In September of 1939, a tropical storm named El Cordonazo hit Long Beach, California.

With Long Beach State students moving into the dorms and preparing to start the fall semester, they also are bracing for Hurricane Hillary’s impact.

AccuWeather calls this a possible “once-in-a-lifetime tropical storm landfall” and the impact being “disruptive, damaging and dangerous.”

Long Beach State Professor Benjamin Hagedorn, an Associate Professor in environmental geochemistry, said the news of Hurricane Hurricane Hilary was surprising and called it a rare phenomenon in California.

“Hurricanes usually require certain conditions to be met for them to cause damage and one key condition is warm sea surface temperature,” Hagedorn said. “California doesn’t see those too often because we have colder sea surface temperature.”

Hagedorn said the “north-south trajectory” was unusual. Based on his expertise, the key damage points would be flooding and less extreme winds.

He suggested that people shouldn’t be traveling on the freeways, especially the 10 or 210 and that people should stay at home unless it’s “life-threatening or dangerous.”

“Charge all your electronic devices right now […] it’s a good idea to have a lot of electronic devices charged up so you can at least receive warnings and communicate,” Hagedorn said.

The storm is set to impact much of Southern California by Sunday night according to AccuWeather forecasts and the National Hurricane Center.

The University put out an email to Long Beach State employees and students on Aug. 18 stating, “We are actively monitoring weather forecasts related to Hurricane Hilary, which will be approaching Southern California over the weekend.”

“At this time, there is no change to normal operations for the coming days, including Monday,” the email said. “We will continue to assess conditions.”

Vice President for Administration and Finance Scott Apel asked students and faculty to make sure their contact information is up to date, since they’ll be sending emergency information via text and email.

The City of Long Beach put out a press release on Aug. 18 explaining how they’ll be preparing for Hurricane Hilary. As of the press release, the hurricane was located off the coast of Mexico.

“The weather event is expected to bring significant rain and wind throughout Long Beach with increased swells along the oceanfront,” Long Beach City’s Public Information Officer Jake Heflin said. “High winds and intermittent periods of heavy precipitation and also anticipated citywide.”

Empty sandbags are available at all neighborhood fire stations in Long Beach. Sand and sandbags are available at the following fire stations:

Station 7 (2295 Elm St.)

Station 12 (1199 Artesia Blvd.)

Station 13 (2475 Adriatic Ave.)

Station 14 (5200 Eliot St.)

Sandbags are only available to Long Beach residents and I.D.’s are required. There is a limit of 10 maximum sandbags per person.

Hagedorn emphasized not to overreact and thanked all of the agencies responsible for relaying information to the public.

“We live in an area where multiple national disaster risks, earthquakes, fires and now hurricanes in the summer so the extreme events are likely to occur more frequently in the future so that’s something we should probably be aware of,” Hagedorn said.

Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency early Saturday night enacting emergency measures to aid response, relief and recovery efforts.

An evacuation advisory has been issued by Los Angeles officials for Catalina Island; officials are urging visitors and residents to evacuate on the Catalina Express.

Residents can get updates on the storm by visiting the National Hurricane Center’s website, the National Weather Services’ website or Longbeach.gov.

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