Live tracker: Where is Hurricane Hilary right now and when will the storm hit San Diego?

Hurricane Hilary will weaken to a tropical storm by the time it reaches Southern California, but will still bring heavy rain and the potential for life-threatening flash flooding

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Hurricane Hilary updates as of 10 p.m. Saturday

  • Hurricane Hilary downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, but the storm is still expected to bring between 2 and 10 inches of rain, winds up to 73 mph, flash floods and possible mudslides between Saturday and Monday, with the strongest impacts coming Sunday morning and evening
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was in San Diego visiting the emergency operations center, declared a state of emergency Saturday for much of Southern California ahead of Hilary's projected landfall
  • San Diego County officials proclaimed a local emergency in response to Hilary on Saturday ni

A first-ever tropical storm warning was issued for Southern California as Hurricane Hilary threatened to deliver rain, flash flooding and strong winds to the San Diego County area this weekend in a historic severe weather event. As of Saturday night, Hilary has downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, but weather officials say it will still likely pass through San Diego County.

Light rains are anticipated Saturday night and will progress into the morning. The eye of the storm is projected to hit between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

As the storm moves through, heavy rains will come in followed by strong winds of 50 mph sustained in San Diego and up to 70 mph in the mountains. Excessive flooding is expected. San Diego County was expected to begin feeling the headwinds of Hurricane Hilary late Saturday, ahead of widespread rain and wind Sunday and Monday, according to city officials.

Hilary was at Category 2 strength Saturday afternoon off the coast of Baja California and was expected to further weaken to a tropical storm by the time it reaches Southern California, but forecasters say the storm will still pack quite a punch.

"Heavy rainfall leading to areas of flash flooding is expected through the afternoon in our mountain and desert areas," the National Weather Service's San Diego office said Saturday. "Chances of widespread, heavy rain will continue into Sunday, when heavier and more widespread rain is expected."

The impact of the storm will peak from Sunday morning through Sunday evening. Rain chances begin to taper off through Monday evening for most areas, according to the NWS.

Some areas in the mountain and deserts could see over 2 inches of rain per hour during the peak storm period and 10-12 inches in total, while the coastal region was expected to get up to 2 inches total.

Authorities are advising people to avoid driving during the storm if at all possible.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and local leaders gave an update on storm preparations for Hurricane Hilary on Saturday afternoon. This comes after a first-ever tropical storm warning was issued for Southern California as Hilary threatened to deliver rain, flash flooding and strong winds to the San Diego County area this weekend in a historic severe weather event.

At the press conference at U.S. Coast Guard San Diego, Gloria advised community members to avoid driving in flood zone areas, ensure gutters and storm drains are clear from debris and charge essential devices.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and local leaders gave an update on storm preparations on Saturday afternoon.

The city's Storm Patrol crews will respond to temporary flooding and downed trees and branches.

As for the unsheltered population, Gloria said there are an additional 192 shelter beds available at four locations and that 146 people from the Safe Sleeping site at 20th and B have been temporarily relocated to Golden Hall.

He also said the city is acquiring more sandbags to make sure needs are met.

“I want to say rest assured that our city crews and first responders are ready to respond to the impacts and emergencies that will come, and we appreciate you doing your part to make sure we can all stay safe together," he said.

The mayor wanted to remind residents they can get information at

And in the event of a power outage, go to for status updates and to see the full service map.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency around 6 p.m. Saturday for much of Southern California ahead of Hurricane Hilary's projected landfall. He was in San Diego visiting the emergency operations center, according to Gloria.

On Saturday afternoon, the governor activated the State Operations Center at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), focusing on positioning emergency resources, maintaining road safety, protecting vulnerable communities, coordinating with private sector retailers like Target, and closing state parks and beaches.

“He assured me that the state of California is watching and monitoring the storm closely and that the full weight of our state government will be here to support our city before, during and after this event,” Gloria said.

Following Newsom's steps, San Diego County officials proclaimed a local emergency in response to Hilary on Saturday around 9:30 p.m. The proclamation allows county officials to use "all available resources, actions and measures deemed necessary" to protect residents.

Cal OES and FEMA say their priority is getting people ready for what's ahead. NBC 7's Dana Williams reports on Aug. 19, 2023.

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Service (Cal OES) held a press conference Saturday afternoon with officials from the NWS, the state's Department of Water Resources, California Highway Patrol, FEMA and more.

"This storm will also bring the potential for isolated tornadoes across portions of Southern California. In addition, we’re expecting life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the beaches of Southern California. The worst impacts are expected on the east side of the inland mountains and into the desert southwest," said Courtney Carpenter from the NWS.

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Service (Cal OES) held a press conference Saturday afternoon with officials from the NWS, the state's Department of Water Resources, California Highway Patrol, FEMA and more.

"Make no mistake this is a very very dangerous and significant storm," said Cal OES Director Nancy Ward.

"There will be power outages, make no mistake. There will be power outages across Southern California," Ward added.

"If you do not need to be on the roadways we are asking you to postpone any of your nonessential travel until the peak of the storm passes," said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

"FEMA, in this stage we’re going to emphasize on preparedness. You've heard it and yet you're not able to hear it enough and that is now is the time to be prepared and get prepared," said FEMA Deputy Regional Administrator Tammy Littrell.

Original story

Hilary strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane Friday and was downgraded Saturday to a Category 2 as it moved up Mexico's Pacific coast. The system is expected to weaken to a tropical storm over the weekend, but that will still mean rare August rain in SoCal and possible catastrophic flooding during what is historically the region's driest month of the year.

The anticipated arrival of Hilary's most severe rainfall has changed from initial estimates of late Sunday to earlier Sunday and into the evening hours. Impacts from that rain could continue well into the overnight hours and Monday, including widespread flash flooding. Damaging winds are possible in some areas.

SoCal residents are bracing for a high risk of flash, urban and arroyo flooding including landslides, mudslides and debris flow, particularly in the mountains and deserts, the NWS San Diego posted on social media on Saturday morning.

"Dangerous to locally catastrophic flooding impacts are expected," according to the NWS.

No tropical storm has made landfall in Southern California since Sept. 25, 1939, when a system lost its hurricane status just before moving onshore in Long Beach. The results were catastrophic.

Check live updates on the storm's strength and location below.

Hilary speeds up

Category 3 Hurricane Hilary appears to be on track for an earlier than previously expected arrival in Southern California as a tropical storm. The heaviest rain is likely to begin early Sunday and continue into the afternoon.

"Clouds are going to be increasing for today (Saturday). We have the chance of more rain as we head into the morning, especially across the eastern areas of San Diego County," NBC 7 Forecaster Brooke Martell said. "And then the coast and inland valleys will follow as we head into tonight (Saturday night)," Martell added.

"By Sunday, winds increase. We have heavy rain, that's when the storms really start to develop. Monday, we'll see a little bit more rain and wind, but that time — that's when the storm will be leaving heading into the afternoon," Martell said.

The system also shifted slightly east, but remained on track for Southern California. 

In an update early Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center said heavy rain will begin well in advance of the center of the storm. The storm was centered about 240 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of the Baja peninsula and moving north-northwest at 13 mph. The system was expected to turn more toward the north and increase speed.

Hilary's trajectory

Hilary was upgraded Thursday night to a Category 4 hurricane as wind speeds reached major hurricane level, prompting for the first time ever a tropical storm warning for Southern California, the National Hurricane Center said.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical-storm-force winds up to 73 mph are expected and residents should prepare for hazards, like damage to unanchored items, downed trees and possible power or communication outages, according to the National Weather Service. The warning was upgraded from a watch Friday evening as wind forecasts jumped above 60 mph, according to the NWS.

Heavy tropical rain from the storm could create flash flooding in San Diego County as soon as Sunday. Hilary also has the potential to produce large swells to the coastline, according to NBC 7 meteorologists.

A flash flood watch was in effect for Saturday morning to Monday evening due to the potential for "rare and damaging impacts," the National Weather Service warned.

President Joe Biden on Friday warned people in the storm's path to prepare for the storm.

“I urge everyone, everyone in the path of this storm, to take precautions and listen to the guidance of state and local officials,” Biden told reporters Friday at Camp David, where he is meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea.

Here's what you should know:

Where is Hurricane Hilary?

The storm was churning off the coast of Mexico Friday and nearing Baja California, where a hurricane watch was issued for the community. The storm was expected to approach San Diego County by Sunday, though its direction and timing could change in the days to come.

The storm is expected to weaken and will likely be downgraded as it moves closer to our region, NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said.

"As it approaches, it will encounter colder ocean water temperatures and land interaction, which will cause this storm to rapidly weaken. At that time it may be a strong tropical storm," Parveen said.

How strong is Hilary?

Hilary became a hurricane early Thursday and was upgraded to a Category 4 by 11 p.m., but it's expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time the bulk of the storm hits San Diego on Sunday.

Tropical storm and hurricane categories are set by the following wind speed ranges:

  • Tropical Storm: 39-73 mph
  • Category 1: 74-95 mph
    Category 2: 96-110 mph
  • Category 3: 111-129 mph
  • Category 4: 130-156 mph
  • Category 5: 157 mph+

Anything over a Category 3 is considered a major hurricane.

What is Hilary's current trajectory?

The latest track forecast had the storm's trajectory turning north toward Southern California Friday and turning again to approach Baja California over the weekend.

The storm is expected to weaken by the time it gets close to San Diego due to unfavorable atmospheric conditions and the fact that ocean water in our region is too cold to sustain a major hurricane, according to Parveen.

The NHC, which tracks the trajectory of the storm, advises that the current cone accounts for uncertainty and is an estimate of possibilities; the tropical storm could switch direction or wind speeds in the days to come.

"It is important to remind users to not focus on the exact forecast track and intensity of Hilary, especially in the latter parts of the forecast period," The Hurricane Center said in their Wednesday report.

How will Hilary affect San Diego?

Hilary could be the first tropical storm to impact San Diego County since Tropical Storm Kay in Sept. 2022. If Hilary is still a tropical storm when it reaches the region, it would be the first in San Diego County since 1939.

Storm clouds will increase on Saturday and by Sunday or Monday, San Diego County was expected to feel the strongest effects from Hilary. The chance of showers could linger through next week, forecasters say.

From Saturday to Monday, most coastal and inland communities could see up to 3 inches of rain while mountain and desert areas could see between 4 and 7 inches, according to the NWS.

"This does have the potential to be a very high-impact event for portions of Southern California. There is still a degree of uncertainty in the forecast and more details will come on exact timing, location, and magnitude of impacts in the coming days," the National Weather Service San Diego said.

Wave heights will also increase as the storm approaches, but the most significant surf will likely be north of San Diego County on south-facing beaches, Parveen said. No watches or warnings are in effect.

How should I prepare for Hilary's impact?

Click here to find out how you can prepare for Hilary.

City News Service also contributed to this report.

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