Over the weekend, Southern California was hit by Hurricane Hilary, which had been reduced to a tropical storm by the time it actually hit. It was the first storm of its kind to reach California in 84 years. While in some places it was “overhyped,” and did not bring with it significant flooding or rain, that is not the case for all of the state. Many areas of the state experienced flooded roads, fallen trees, and people with severe injuries.
In Cathedral City near Palm Springs, there was an accident in which an elderly care home was flooded with mud, trapping more than a dozen residents. Rescuers were sent in with a bulldozer and managed to get everyone out and to safety. In the small community of Cathedral City, there were 46 rescues that had to be done between Sunday and Monday. In some areas, the water stood up to 5 feet tall.
Palm Springs and other neighboring areas around the San Bernadino and Riverside counties were hit the hardest.
The eye of the storm was above San Bernadino County and the mountain range there. In the mountains, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Alison Hesterly said they cleared approximately 800 homes that were trapped due to mudslides from the hurricane. In some places, neighbors helped dig out their neighbors when the mud was too much.
Before the storm hit, we already knew most of California was not built to withstand hurricane/tropical storm weather. The hard-hit areas of the storm proved just how unprepared we are as a state for this kind of weather.
Then, to make matters worse, California had an earthquake as well during the storm. On Sunday there was an earthquake in Ventura County that registered as a 5.1 on the Richter scale.
With the earthquake hitting during the unprecedented storm, the event earned the nickname “The Hurriquake.”
There were also a number of pretty severe aftershocks from this earthquake. There were four follow-up quakes that registered, each being at least a 3 on the Richter scale. For aftershocks, these are quite high.
After the hurricane and severe earthquakes, California is left in a bit of a scared and nervous state. We now do not know what to expect from future weather patterns, but know that now anything is possible.