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

What started as Invest 90E off the coast of Mexico in the Eastern Pacific Ocean has now become Tropical Storm Hilary, which is expected to bring heavy rain to parts of California and the Southwest by the end of the weekend and into next week.

A cyclone is declared a tropical storm when maximum sustained winds reach at least 39 mph, and much like its fellow tropical depressions and hurricanes, impacts can be significant.

Here's a closer look at Tropical Storm Hilary which is forecast to become a hurricane by Thursday.

Where is Tropical Storm Hilary?

Tropical Storm Hilary is located about 370 miles to the south of Manzanillo, Mexico, and is moving to the west-northwest at 15 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

What is the forecast for Tropical Storm Hilary?

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Tropical Storm Hilary is expected to continue to spin off to the west-northwest with a gradual turn to the northwest in a day or so. The NHC says steady to rapid strengthening is forecast over the next few days and Hilary is expected to become a hurricane on Thursday.

What are the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary?

Large swells generated by Tropical Storm Hillary will affect portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula over the next few days. Those swells, according to the NHC, are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents.

As Tropical Storm 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.

"It appears that a corridor will open up between a sharp dip in the jet stream along the West Coast and the super-strong heat dome over the central U.S.," FOX Weather hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross said. "Tropical moisture from likely-Hilary has a good chance of spreading north in that river of air into the highly populated areas west of the Southern California mountains and the desert areas to the east."

Several inches of rain could fall across the region from the end of the weekend through the middle of next week. Portions of Southern California will likely see 2-3 inches of rain, with some locally higher amounts of 3-5 inches possible. To the east, 1-2 inches of rain is forecast to fall, with some locally higher amounts.

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