Storm Hilary slams California with floods and fierce winds

Hilary has weakened to a post-tropical cyclone that’s still bringing life-threatening flooding and gusty winds to much of the Southwest US, leaving streets like raging rivers and residents ordered to leave their homes.

After hitting Southern California on Sunday as a tropical storm – the state’s first since 1997 – Hilary early Monday was moving over central Nevada, about 390 miles north of San Diego, packing sustained winds of 35 mph with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.

Continuing rain is expected to cause life-threatening or catastrophic flash, urban and arroyo flooding in some places, including landslides, mudslides and debris flows. Localized flooding is expected into Tuesday morning across northern portions of the Intermountain West.

“Areas that normally do not experience flash flooding will flood,” the National Weather Service said. “Lives and property are in great danger through Monday.”

Flood watches are in effect for more than 25 million people from Southern California to northern Idaho. Strong and gusty winds are expected to persist across portions of the western US Monday, particularly in and near areas of higher terrain. All coastal tropical storm warnings have been discontinued.

“We are not used to this level of precipitation, generally – certainly not in the middle of summer,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria told CNN on Sunday.

“With what we’re expecting, it may overwhelm us,” he added.

Flooding, mudslides and downed trees and wires already are widely reported across Southern California.

In Palm Springs, 911 lines were down Sunday night as roads turned into rivers. Vehicles hours earlier were seen driving through floodwaters, with their wheels completely submerged.

Once a hurricane, Hilary weakened as it made landfall in Mexico Sunday, where at least one person died, then it crossed over into the Golden State. The storm’s center was roughly 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles around 8 p.m. local time Sunday, moving north with weakened 45 mph winds, according to the National Hurricane Center.

While the storm has weakened significantly, it’s still battering California with extreme weather as it moves farther inland, bringing continued fears that floods and mudslides could potentially turn deadly.

Read more about Hilary as it brings life-threatening flooding and gusty winds to southern western US.