Hurricane Hilary is poised to make landfall in Southern California on Sunday, but it is already starting to wreak havoc in Mexico.
According to the National Weather Service, as of 5 a.m. Sunday, the storm was “very near” the Baja California coast south of Ensenada, Mexico and 285 miles (460 kilometers) from San Diego.
The storm, which currently remains a Category 1 hurricane, will continue to lose strength as it hits Southern California, but officials are stressing that the weakening storm is still very dangerous.
In the Mexican town of Santa Rosalía, on Baja California Sur’s eastern coast, a person drowned on Saturday when their vehicle was swept away in an overflowing stream. It was not immediately clear whether officials considered the fatality as related to the hurricane.
According to the mayor of the nearby municipality of Mulegé, rescue crews were able to save four other people.
Further south, dozens sought refuge in storm shelters in the resort town of Los Cabos, and a family had to be rescued in San Jose del Cabo after the resort they were staying at was hit by driving wind and rain.
Nearly 850 people have been evacuated from islands off the Baja coast and Mexico’s navy has deployed almost 3,000 troops for emergency operations. Police were seen in Baja California Sur’s capital, La Paz, patrolling beaches to keep swimmers out of the water.
In Tijuana, all beaches were closed, and fire department officials warned residents to get out as quickly as possible if they hear “noises or the ground cracking.”
Additionally, half a dozen storm shelters were set up at sports complexes and government offices throughout the city.
Meteorologists expect the storm to churn up “life-threatening” surf and rip currents, including waves up to 40 feet (12 meters) high along Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Several areas and services have been closed ahead of the storm, including state parks and beaches, and others have been given a voluntary order to evacuate.
Events, such as Major League Baseball games in L.A. and a SpaceX launch on the central coast, were rescheduled or postponed until at least Monday.
Hilary rapidly grew into a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, with top sustained winds peaking at 145 miles per hour (230 kilometers per hour). The storm dropped to a Category 3 hurricane as it moved north and entered colder waters early Saturday, and by Sunday morning, had weakened further to become a Category 1.
To track Hurricane Hilary live, click here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.