Hilary could bring real rain to SCV in August 

Similar to Tropical Storm Ernesto on Aug. 9., Hurricane Hilary could bring as much as an inch and a half of rain next week. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Similar to Tropical Storm Ernesto on Aug. 9., Hurricane Hilary could bring as much as an inch and a half of rain next week. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Weather patterns from the south are once again bringing the Santa Clarita Valley another rare occurrence of rain in the forecast, weather officials said Thursday. 

While Tropical Storm Ernesto brought a drizzle to the SCV Aug. 9, Hurricane Hilary could bring as much as 1 to 4 inches throughout L.A. and Ventura counties this weekend, according to Rose Schoenseld, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. 

“Essentially this one is different for us because it’s tracking much closer,” she said, referring to Hurricane Hilary. She added that there’s not yet high confidence in the amount of rainfall, but there is high confidence rainfall will occur. In mountain areas, there could be as much as 5 inches total, and a storm and flood watch have been issued for both counties. 

At lower altitudes, the city of Santa Clarita could see about an inch and a half more rain total, for the duration of the weather event, she said. 

The heaviest action is expected in the SCV on Sunday evening into Monday, she said, when Hilary is projected to touch down in San Diego as a tropical storm. 

At its peak, the stormfront looks to be capable of producing as much as an inch an hour of rainfall, based on what meteorologists are currently seeing with the use of radar and satellites. 

The storm is expected to start to dissipate by Tuesday and move out of the area by Wednesday, she added. 

One factor in the unusual weather pattern might be connected to the change from a La Niña to El Niño weather system in the spring, she said.  

“After three consecutive years of La Niña, spring 2023 saw the return of El Niño — a natural climate phenomenon characterized by the presence of warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures (and higher sea levels) in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean,” according to NASA’s Earth Observatory website. A report confirming the change was issued June 8 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.  

“Tropical systems are not common for Southern California. Several storms have tracked north along Baja, California, and made landfall, but it is a relatively rare event,” she said. “The only tropical cyclone to make landfall in California at the strength of a tropical storm, so not just the remnants of it, but it was actually made landfall as a tropical storm, was in 1939.” 

A news report from an Oct. 3, 1939, issue of the L.A. Times, “Tropical Storm Moving on Southland” notes five communities from Arcadia to Santa Anita received rainfall the previous night as the result of a storm that moved up from San Diego. Santa Clarita did not make the list.  

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