Coastal communities in Southern California are bracing for potential flooding from Hurricane Hilary, which is expected to make landfall as a tropical storm this weekend.

Hilary, which is churning off the Pacific coast of Mexico, is expected to reach California on Sunday as a tropical storm with heavy rain and large ocean swells.

“Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts of 10 inches, are expected across portions of southern California and southern Nevada, which would lead to significant and rare impacts,” the National Weather Service said. “Elsewhere across portions of the Western United States, rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected.”

Tropical Storm Watches
Tropical Storm advisories on Aug. 18, 2023, as Hurricane Hilary approaches Southern California.

Long Beach, an area ravaged by the last tropical storm to hit the Golden State in 1939, is urging residents in low-lying areas to protect their property with sandbags.

Sand and sandbags are available at the following fire stations:

  • Station 7 (2295 Elm St.)
  • Station 12 (1199 Artesia Blvd.)
  • Station 13 (2475 Adriatic Ave.)
  • Station 14 (5200 Eliot St.)

Residents can also pick up sandbags and sand at the lifeguard station at 72nd Place and Ocean Boulevard. A maximum of 10 sandbags are available only to Long Beach residents and identification is required, the officials said in an advisory on Friday.

The city also outlined other measures being taken to prepare for the storm.

“Protective berms have been built and fortified in vulnerable beach areas to safeguard residents and property,” the city said. “Long Beach Fire Swiftwater Rescue team members are on standby in the event of deployment to conduct patrols along the riverbeds to advise people experiencing homelessness of the potential for fast rising and dangerous waters.”

Long Beach Hilary Preps
Residents and lifeguards in Long Beach, California fill sandbags ahead of Hurricane Hilary’s arrival. Aug. 18, 2023. (KTLA)

Outreach workers are also encouraging homeless people to avoid riverbeds and are helping them find other options for shelter, officials said.

Long Beach is offering the following advice, which applies to all coastal communities that could be impacted by Hilary:

  • Avoid areas that are subject to sudden flooding.
  • Avoid driving through a flooded road or walking across a flowing stream of water.
  • Slow down at intersections, especially if signal lights are not working, and treat them as stop signs. Be cautious while driving, especially at night.
  • Take appropriate steps to be prepared by securing personal property and vehicles in areas that are prone to flooding.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips. If you must travel during the storm, dress in warm, loose layers of clothing. Advise others of your destination and estimated arrival time.
  • Be aware of utility workers working in or near the road.
  • Stay off sand berms and stay away from city vehicles and machinery operating along the coastline.
  • Keep pets inside and ensure they have shelter from the storm.
  • Place refuse and recycling carts on the parkway or driveway apron.
  • Report downed power lines by calling 911.

Long Beach residents can report street flooding or downed trees by calling 562-570-2700.