Hilary hitting San Diego coast with up to 2 inches of rain and strong winds

Interactive radar of Tropical Storm Hilary
(National Weather Service)

The tropical storm is expected to be at its peak in San Diego County between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. Local parks, beaches, schools and some other attractions are closed.


Tropical Storm Hilary is expected to lash San Diego County with heavy rain and strong winds Sunday, Aug. 20, intensifying as the day goes on, the National Weather Service said.

The former hurricane, which has been moving up the coast of Baja California, was downgraded to a tropical storm early Sunday. It is moving north-northwest at 25 mph and will take a direct path through San Diego County, forecasters said.

The county is under a tropical storm warning for the first time in history. San Diego last took a direct hit from a tropical storm in September 1939.

Residents of council District 2, which includes Point Loma and Ocean Beach, can get up to 10 empty sandbags at OB’s Robb Field to aid against potential flooding.

Aug. 18, 2023

Forecasters said Hilary will drop 1½ to 2 inches of rain at the coast, 2 to 2½ inches across inland valleys, 5 to 10 inches in the mountains — with some spots getting 12 inches — and 5 to 7 inches in the deserts.

The heaviest rain is expected between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, tapering off after that and clearing out Monday.

In preparation for Hilary, the Navy sent about 10 ships out to sea Saturday from San Diego Bay, something it had never done locally. The ships included the carrier USS Nimitz and the destroyer Halsey. The vessels were headed north of the Channel Islands.

The weather service said it is worried about the potential speed of some downpours. It’s possible the rain will fall at the rate of a quarter-inch an hour at the coast, which could cause flooding.

Forecasters say they are just as concerned about wind, which will come out of the south at the coast.

On Sunday, the entire county will get hit by tropical storm-force winds — which refer to sustained winds of 40 mph or higher. Such gusts can rip boats from moorings, snap tree limbs and stress power lines.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for San Diego County as well as 14 other counties in the storm’s path. The declaration is designed to get various emergency services to affected communities fast, including water rescue teams from the California National Guard.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed a local emergency proclamation Sunday that enables the city to acquire state and federal disaster resources if needed.

Here are some notable storm-related closures in Point Loma and Ocean Beach:

• The San Diego Unified School District, which operates nine public schools in the Point Loma-Ocean Beach area, will delay the start of its new school year from Monday to Tuesday, Aug. 22.

• All city of San Diego beaches, parks and public buildings, including libraries and recreation centers, are closed Sunday and Monday.

• The Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma is closed Sunday and Monday.

• All YMCA facilities are closed Sunday.

— San Diego Union-Tribune staff writers David Garrick and Abby Hamblin and Point Loma-OB Monthly staff contributed to this report.


2:24 p.m. Aug. 20, 2023: This article was updated with new information.

9:48 a.m. Aug. 20, 2023: This article was updated with new information.


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