Tropical Storm Hilary leaves behind path of destruction in Southern California

On Monday, Tropical Storm Hilary began tapering off and moving away from the region after it unleashed in Southern California, marking the first tropical storm to make landfall in the area in over eight decades.

While Hurricane Hilary was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 1 as it swirled northward from Mexico’s Baja California, residents in Southern California were warned Hilary, after weakening to a tropical storm, could wreak havoc and bring life-threatening flooding to the region.

‘We dodged a weather bomb’

In a press conference Monday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass thanked Angelenos for paying attention, staying home and staying informed. She added fire authorities informed her that no deaths have been reported as a result of the storm.

With city crews working around the clock, she anticipates clear roadways by Tuesday. 

"Some will say we dodged a weather bullet," said Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Roberto Carvalho. "I say we dodged a weather bomb with some degree of unpredictability not knowing where that would it occur or when across our large school system that spans 700 square miles." 

Carvalho, who spent years as superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, stands by his decision to cancel classes Monday, adding he expects the district to resume a regular school day Tuesday. 

Hurricane Hilary shifts northward over the weekend

On Friday, the National Weather Service issued its first-ever Tropical Storm Watch as monsoonal moisture surged into the area over the weekend. By Sunday, Southland communities saw a range of heavy downpours, flash flooding, and gusty winds. The torrential rainfall triggered school and road closures as some residents were hit by power outages. 

The storm dropped more than six inches of rain on parts of Los Angeles County and more than three inches of rain on parts of Ventura County.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office on Sunday declared a state of emergency for most of Southern California "to support faster recovery and response efforts." Los Angeles County launched an emergency page for residents looking to get countywide updates on the storm, as well as where to turn to for resources. 


Newsom said 7,500 personnel were activated in Southern California, with close to 4,000 California Highway Patrol members, 2,000 Caltrans workers and mutual aid across the region. Newsom warned residents to take seriously any alerts of flash floods, lighting and the possibility of tornadoes.

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CATHEDRAL CITY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: A car is partially submerged in floodwaters as Tropical Storm Hilary moves through the area on August 20, 2023 in Cathedral City, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

From: Getty Images


President Joe Biden also issued a statement Sunday, saying that federal officials were providing assistance to the area, and urging people to listen to local officials' calls for caution during the storm.

"I continue to be briefed on our preparedness efforts, and the storm’s potential impact — including flooding," Biden's statement read. "My Administration stands ready to provide additional assistance as requested. I urge people to take this storm seriously, and listen to state and local officials."

The area also saw its first "hurriquake." On Sunday afternoon, thousands of Southland residents were rattled by a preliminary magnitude 5.1 earthquake and several aftershocks centered in Ventura County. 

RELATED: More than a dozen earthquakes rock Southern California amid Tropical Storm Hilary

Below is the latest on the storm by county.

Los Angeles County


The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department asked residents and visitors to leave Catalina Island ahead of rough seas and high winds. To assist, the city of Long Beach has opened a temporary shelter at Silverado Park located at 1545 W. 31st Street to support those who have left the island. 

SUGGESTED: Catalina Island residents, visitors advised to leave as Hurricane Hilary looms

However, officials discovered most residents opted to stay and shelter in place. 

Road Closures/Hazards

  • The Sepulveda Basin remains flooded on Burbank Boulevard between the 405 Freeway and Hayvenhurst Avenue, as well as Woodley Avenue between Victory and Burbank boulevards
  • Flooding on the westbound 118 Freeway at Tampa Avenue
  • Palmdale: Mudslide on the 14 Freeway northbound #2 lane between Avenue P and Avenue N.
  • Palmdale: Sierra Highway between Pearblossom Highway and Avenue S; Avenue N between Sierra Highway and 10th Street West; Avenue Q at 35th Street East; Avenue P at 10th Street East; Avenue O at 30th Street West; Palmdale Boulevard at 30th Street East; and 30th Street East between Avenue S and Avenue R.
  • Duarte: Mel Canyon closed
  • Duarte: Minor flooding on 210 Freeway near Oak Hill
  • Santa Clarita: One westbound lane of Soledad Canyon Road between Oaks Springs Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road will be shut down for debris removal.
  • Sun Valley: All lanes were closed on the northbound side of the 5 Freeway in Sun Valley due to flooding

School Closures

The following Los Angeles County school districts are closed on Monday, Aug. 21 but will resume Tuesday, Aug. 22:

  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Inglewood Unified School District
  • Acton-Agua Dulce USD
  • Pasadena USD
  • Saugus Union SD
  • William S. Hart Union High SD
  • Castaic USD
  • Newhall SD
  • Sulphur Springs Union SD
  • Westside Union SD
  • Eastside Union SD
  • Antelope Valley High SD
  • Lancaster SD
  • Palmdale SD
  • Rosemead SD
  • Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union SD

The LAUSD announced that while schools will be closed, they'll continue to provide grab-and-go meals Monday at the following locations from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • South East Senior High, 2720 Tweedy Blvd., South Gate
  • Linda Esperanza Marquez Senior High, 6361 Cottage St., Huntington Park
  • James A Garfield Senior High, 5101 E. Sixth St., Los Angeles
  • Panorama Senior High, 8015 Van Nuys Blvd., Panorama City
  • Sylmar Charter High School, 13050 Borden Ave., Sylmar
  • William Mulholland Middle School, 17120 Vanowen St., Lake Balboa;
  • John C Fremont Senior High, 7676 S San Pedro St., Los Angeles
  • Phineas Banning Senior High, 1527 Lakme Ave., Wilmington
  • Robert E Peary Middle School, 1415 W Gardena Blvd., Gardena
  • RFK Community Schools - UCLA Community School K-12, 700 S. Mariposa Ave., Los Angeles
  • Marina Del Rey Middle School, 12500 Braddock Drive
  • Thomas Starr King Middle School Magnet: Film and Media, 4201 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles.

Gorman Elementary will start school two hours late on Monday.

Cal State Long Beach announced it will be closed Monday, while the University of Southern California will be open and classes for the fall semester are expected to begin as scheduled. 

Bus & Rail Services

Both bus and rail services will continue with only occasional to minimal delays.


The city of Los Angeles has opened the following shelters:

  • Echo Park Community Center 313 Patton St.;
  • North Hollywood Senior Center 5301 Tujunga Ave.;
  • Lake View Terrace Recreation Center 11075 Foothill Blvd.
  • Central Park Recreation Center 1357 E. 22nd St.;
  • Stoner Recreation Center 1835 Stoner Ave.;
  • Lanark Recreation Center 21816 Lanark St., Canoga Park;
  • South L.A. Sports Activity Center 7020 S. Figueroa St.;
  • Glassell Park Recreation Center 3650 Verdugo Road.

Pasadena has also opened an emergency shelter at Villa Parke Community Center, 363 E Villa St.

Additionally, Red Cross shelters are also open. To find a Red Cross shelter, tap or click here.

A map of evacuation areas can be found here.

Riverside County

On Monday, Riverside County proclaimed a local emergency and will go before the county’s board of supervisors on Aug. 29 for ratification. 

The emergency proclamation could help the Southern California County eligible for federal and state aids that would help areas damaged by flooding.

The cities of La Quinta and Palm Desert also proclaimed a local emergency. 

The Palm Springs area was battered by rain as the desert simply wasn't equipped for Hilary's impact. The Palm Springs City Manager declared a state of emergency Sunday amid the heavy rainfall and flooded roadways.

Sunday now marks the wettest August day on record in the area.

Weather Alerts in Palm Springs: 

  • A Flash Flood Watch remains in place through 1 a.m. Tuesday

Weather Alerts are also in place for the mountain communities:

  • A Flood Watch is in effect for the Riverside County Mountains through 1 a.m. Tuesday

Emergency Alerts

Anyone having problems getting through to 911 can call the following alternate emergency lines: 

  • 951-684-0911
  • 951-776-1278

Those in Palm Springs can call 760-327-1441 to contact police and fire departments. 

School Closures

College of the Desert announced campus would be closed on Monday due to flooding in the area, including some campus buildings.

Road Closures

  • Indio: The CHP said  Monday the eastbound lanes of the San Gorgonio Pass Area near Indio on the 10 Freeway is closed due to mudslides. The northbound 111 Highway is also closed in the area while they continue to monitor the southbound side.
  • Both directions of California Oaks Road between SkyView Ridge and Morning Dove are closed due to water main break
  • Palm Springs: Dinah Shore at the bridge from Palm Springs to Cathedral City, Farrell Drive between Mesquite Drive and Ramon Road, El Cielo at Mesquite Drive, Araby at the Wash, and Golf Club Drive at the wash are now shut down due to major flooding. In addition, North Indian Canyon Drive, Gene Autry Trail and Vista Chino Drive at the wash remain closed. Gateway Drive is closed at the 111 due to flooding
  • Indio: The 10 Freeway is closed in both directions between Bob Hope Drive to Gene Autry Trail due to flooding.

San Bernardino County

The San Bernardino County Mountains were also heavily impacted in the already saturated area following the winter’s powerful storms. 

Weather Alerts

The following weather alerts  are in effect for the mountain communities:

  • A Flood Warning is in place through 10:15 a.m. Monday
  • A Flood Watch is in effect through 1 a.m. Tuesday


The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department issued evacuation orders for Oak Glen, Forest Falls, Mountain Home Village, Angelus Oaks and northeast Yucaipa on Saturday night.

By Sunday night, the department also issued an evacuation order for the Serrano Square neighborhood, south of Oak Glen Road and east of 2nd Street, in Yucaipa.

These areas are known to flood during heavy rainfall events and have been the recipients of debris flows and mudslides.

School Closures 

Schools in the following districts are closed Monday:

  • Rialto Unified School District
  • Bear Valley Unified School District
  • Colton Joint Unified School District

LA County Airports

At the Los Angeles International Airport, there are 18 flight cancellations and 60 delays Monday.

Hollywood Burbank Airport was the hardest hit by delays and cancellations. There were 33 flight cancellations and 10 delays Monday, according to FlightAware. Hollywood Burbank was reporting 41% of its arrivals and departures were canceled as of 3 p.m. Sunday.

Orange County


The Orange County Sheriff's Department issued a voluntary Evacuation Warning for Silverado and Williams canyons in the Bond Fire burn scar area. The voluntary warning is in effect from through Monday, Aug. 21. Deputies are urging anyone in those areas to leave, especially those with disabilities, access and/or functional needs, and canyon residents with large animals.

Road Closures

  • Southbound PCH is closed between Warner & Seapoint

Orange County also closed all recreational facilities, trails, campgrounds, beaches and libraries. 

School Closures

Cal State Fullerton announced late Sunday that classes would be closed on Monday.


The following beaches/campgrounds are closed effective Monday:

  • Bolsa Chica State Beach
  • Huntington State Beach
  • Crystal Cove State Park (Including Historic District Cottages)
  • Doheny State Beach
  • San Clemente State Beach
  • San Onofre State Beach


At Orange County's John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, 20% of departures and 21% of arrivals were canceled Sunday.

Ventura County

Ventura County was slammed with flash flooding Sunday. Even with the storm moving out, the NWS said many roadways remain hazardous due to runoff. Some of the impacted areas include Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, and Filmore. 

Weather Alerts

  • A Flood Advisory expired at 8 a.m. Monday


Several theme parks, attractions, as well as county parks and facilities are closed due to the storm. Tap or click here for a complete list. 

The storm is expected to remain in the region through Monday morning, likely clearing out by early afternoon, with scattered thunderstorms possible Tuesday.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.