It's that time of the blog year when I become an ersatz meteorologist. A hurricane is heading toward the United States.
This time, though, it's Hurricane Hilary's path to and across Southern California and into Nevada.
A hurricane is never good news. That's particularly true in the Golden State, where most of the residents are still dealing with winter storm flooding. Now they are awaiting Hilary, forecast by weather officials to be the wettest tropical cyclone in state history.
The storm also has prompted the first-ever Tropical Storm Watch issued for California.
As California mobilizes to meet the hurricane threat, this weekend's Saturday Shout Outs go to a variety of articles and prior blog posts that could help in preparing for and recovering from what Hurricane Hilary might bring.
Tracking the storm: Let's start with Hilary's track, like where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), specifically its National and Central Pacific Hurricane Centers (NHC and CPHC), expect the storm to go.
The image at the top of this post shows the cone of possible movement as of 9 a.m. Pacific Daylight time today. Below is the NOAA NHC CPHC map of how much flooding rain areas could get over the next three days.
As we weather watchers know, Mother Nature often changes her mind. You can keep up with these and other forecast maps from NOAA, NHC, and CPCH at the federal agency's Hurricane Hilary graphics page.
The regular warnings are posted on the Hurricane Hilary Public Advisory page.
Public advisories for Central Pacific tropical cyclones are normally issued every six hours at 5 and 11 a.m. Hawaiian Time and 5 and 11 p.m. HT. That's a three-hour difference from the Pacific time zone, so Californians can check for Hilary updates at 8 a.m., 2 and 8 p.m., and 2 a.m.
But again, since things can change rapidly, NOAA issues intermediate public advisories are issued every 3 hours when coastal watches or warnings are in effect.
State and local agency alerts: Also check with your state emergency services offices. They will be issuing their own warnings. An announcement issued by the California governor's office last week when it was clear that Hilary was headed for the state offers these five actions, along with links to other storm preparation sites, to help residents stay safer during the storm:
- Stay connected. Californians are reminded to dial 3-1-1 to get help or ask questions. If you have a critical emergency, call 911. Stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts including warnings and evacuation notices. Go to CalAlerts.org to sign up to receive alerts from your county officials. Check in with loved ones and neighbors.
- Prepare for high winds and ocean surges. Before a high-wind event occurs, remove any dead trees or overhanging branches near structures, remove loose roofing material, bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies, secure outdoor objects that could blow away, shutter windows securely and brace outside doors.
During a high-wind event, take cover next to a building or under shelter, stay away from windows, stay clear of roadways and train tracks, avoid elevated areas such as roofs, watch for flying debris.
Avoid the ocean. The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory and is urging beachgoers to stay out of the ocean as Hurricane Hilary will create strong breaking waves, shore breaks and strong longshore and rip currents, making the ocean extremely dangerous.
- Travel safely. Avoid non-essential travel during the peak of the storm expected Sunday and Monday. If you must drive, download the QuickMap app or visit QuickMap (ca.gov) to learn up-to-the-minute information on road conditions, traffic, closures, and more. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Be ready in case of power outages. Take inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Keep your devices charged. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs if the power goes out such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Also, plan accordingly for the potential of water outages.
- Listen to local authorities. Always follow the guidance of your local authorities, including evacuation orders, road closures and other official notices.
Historic storm history: The Los Angeles Times also has a couple of articles that might be of interest.
Then get a bit more insight into why there's been such a gap between these types of storms in Why hurricanes like Hilary have been so rare in California.
Storm Warnings: Finally, shameless plug alert, the ol' blog has plenty of disaster preparation and post-storm posts, starting with the most recent one, Hurricane preparation tips for those who are older, have special needs. It was posted on June 1, the start of the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season.
As that annual hurricane season prep post notes, I've been blogging about storms and disasters from Don't Mess With Taxes' early days, so I didn't reinvent the wheel then, and I'm not now, even for this historic West Coast tropical system.
Instead, I'll repeat what I posted then. Check out my special Storm Warnings preparation page. After the intro, you'll find links, with the newest ones first, to posts on getting ready to weather tropical storms and other disasters.
One worth special mention, though, is last year's physical and financial disaster preparation tips.
And once Hilary has come and gone, the post on the Storm Warnings' recovery page on Considerations in making a major disaster tax claim is worth a look. Ditto the updated post on how the IRS and other government resources can help you deal with a natural disaster.
The key now, though, is to prepare and stay safe.
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