Hilary may be California's first tropical storm since 1939

With Hurricane Hillary inching up the coast from Baja California, Southern California beach communities are getting ready.

While we’ve had remnants of hurricanes hit us before, it’s been sometime since Southern California got hit directly by a tropical storm. As of Thursday evening, we don’t know if Hilary would make landfall in California as a tropical storm this weekend, but it is possible.

Cities like Seal Beach are paying close attention and getting ready. You can see crews already firming up the huge sand berm that protects low-lying beachfront neighborhoods from flooding (which is already an issue when it rains).

Lifeguards are calling in everyone to work as we are expecting a swell that would mean large waves for south-facing beaches, like Seal Beach. Big waves translate into rip currents and more rescues.

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"A Southeast swell would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G" says one of the instructors at M&M Surfing school, where they are warning students about the waves this weekend, steering beginners away from waves that could be huge.

There’s the possibility of lightning, so even people coming out to spots like The Wedge, should be careful, lifeguards say.

City officials are getting guidelines ready in case they have to close some of the piers, especially if the waves really materialize.

We’ll see what Hilary does in the coming days, as the last time a tropical storm hit California head-on was 1939.