Hurricane Hilary remains Category 3 storm with ‘significant’ impacts expected in California, Southwest

Hurricane Hilary continues to rapidly intensify Thursday and has strengthened into a Category 3 storm, and forecasters said that the hurricane's path means the storm could bring "significant" impacts to Southern California and the Southwest by the end of the week and into the first part of next week.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), rapid intensification occurs when a tropical cyclone's maximum sustained winds increase by at least 35 mph in a 24-hour period

"Rainfall impacts from Hilary within the Southwestern United States are expected to peak this weekend into Monday," the NHC said in an advisory. "Flash, urban and arroyo flooding is possible with the potential for significant impacts."

Ocean water off the coast of California is cool, so winds should diminish the intensity of Hurricane Hilary if the forecast track brings the storm to the Golden State. What forecasters are keeping an eye on will be the abundant tropical moisture that could be flowing into California, Nevada and Arizona.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tropical Storm Hilary sets sights on California as it strengthens in Eastern Pacific

Here's a closer look at Hurricane Hilary.

Where is Hurricane Hilary?

Hurricane Hilary is located about 430 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It is packing 125 mph winds and is moving west-northwest at about 14 mph, according to National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. update Thursday.

With Hilary upgraded to Category 3, it is now considered a major hurricane.

PHOTO: FOX Weather

PHOTO: FOX Weather (FOX Weather)

What is the forecast for Hurricane Hilary?

The NHC says Hurricane Hilary is expected to continue to spin off to the west-northwest through Thursday night. A tun to the northwest is expected Friday morning, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest and north on Saturday. On this path, the center of Hurricane Hilary will approach the Baja California peninsula over the weekend, according to the NHC.

What are the impacts of Hurricane Hilary?

The Mexican government has issued a Hurricane Watch for Baja California Sur north of Punta Abreojos to Punta Eugenia.

A Tropical Storm Warning has also been issued for the southern portions of Baja California Sur from Cabo San Lazaro south on the west coast and Los Barriles south on the east coast. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued north of Cabo San Lazaro to Puerto San Andresito on the west coast.

A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical storm-force winds are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. Those winds may also be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding and/or river flooding.

PHOTO: FOX Weather

PHOTO: FOX Weather (FOX Weather)

Large swells generated by Hurricane Hilary will affect portions of the southwestern Mexico coast and the Baja California peninsula over the next few days, according to the NHC. The swells are also likely to cause life-threatening surf and potentially deadly rip currents.

As Hurricane Hilary spins closer to the U.S.-Mexico border, millions of people living in Southern California and the Southwest will need to keep an eye on a surge of tropical moisture expected to impact the region.

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Hurricane Hillary is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 3-6 inches, with possible higher amounts of up to 10 inches across portions of the Baja California peninsula through Sunday night. Flash flooding, which can be locally significant, will be possible, the NHC warned.

Heavy rain associated with Hurricane Hilary is also expected to impact California and the Southwest starting Friday and lasting through early next week, with peak impacts expected on Sunday and Monday.

Forecast rainfall totals of 2-4 inches, with some amounts of up to 8 inches, will be possible across portions of Southern California and Southern Nevada. Between 2-3 inches of rain could also fall across portions of western Arizona.

The flash flood threat of Hurricane Hilary on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. (FOX Weather)

Hurricane Hilary may impact supply chain, expert warns

Hurricane Hilary is predicted to impact the supply chain in southern California over the weekend and early next week, says Jon Davis, chief meteorologist at Everstream Analytics.

"This is noteworthy because it is extremely rare for southern California to be impacted, in any way, by a tropical system," he told FOX Weather. "Impacts include disruptions at the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles as well as the metro areas of San Diego and Los Angeles."

Davis also mentioned that heavy rains and flash flooding will primarily affect the Imperial Valley, which supplies agriculture, livestock, and the mining of lithium.

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