Live updates on the Southern California Landfall of Hurricane (Tropical Storm) Hilary
This live update stream is performed by a prepper in San Diego County and another in Riverside County as it happens.
3:40am PST (MONDAY) in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
NO UPDATE in REAL TIME… But, a note from San Diego from earlier communications: “We didn’t have much difficulty. It was a few 20 minute blasts of rain, with some higher than normal winds. We feel pretty lucky. Hopefully there aren’t too many difficulties for others in the pathway.”
3:40am PST (MONDAY) in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
We had power restored within several hours – this happens 2-3 times a year unfortunately. The grid stability here is pretty bad considering there are 3 cities of 150k+ population within 15 minutes of our city (125k+); and we are within 1.5 hours of two of the biggest 20 cities in the USA (6 million+ population metro areas).
At risk of sounding like a jerk, we aren’t going to state that we had it all that bad. There are people with real pain right now. We DID NOT get flooded. We DO NOT have road closures. We ARE NOT more negatively affected than most of the other desert areas around us. We DID have some moments of touch and go in the amount of water we were dealing with on our personal property. We were issued a “voluntary evacuation order” – not sure where we would have gone in that case – but we aren’t those types of people anyways – we would have bugged in at that point. That “stay til it’s too late” mentality might warrant a discussion at some point, but we’ve been vindicated on it during several natural disasters.
No power is a real consideration – look for some post-mortem and specific articles about grid stability and preps related to power outages in the future. For us: Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Tropical Depression Hilary was not as bad as we expected, and not as bad as we initially encountered with the storm preview. There are going to be some weeds, and maybe some mosquitoes for us int he coming days, but we’ll take it over property damage or real risk of flooding/mudslides.
We hope that others are as lucky as we are and that there is not major residential property damage and loss of life. We feel very blessed to be safe and out of the path of the storm.
What Additional last-minute preparations did we make before we settled in to see how the hurricane played out?
San Diego Prepper: We anticipated some flooding around the major city areas where drainage would be hard to accomplish (Mission Valley for instance had difficulty as the San Diego River flooded badly and put some parts of the Mission valley Mall under several feet of water in a less intense recent storm). We bought some extra food. We also anticipated forced blackouts to protect electrical infrastructure and prevent arcing/fire/electrical issues by SDG&E, so we added some backup battery packs to our go-bags, and some candles and charged devices, etc. Prepared by transferring some food into deep freezers, and eating easily spoiled foods as a priority. We tried to tie down some of our 3-4 year old trees to prevent major damage. We are generally prepared for just about any event. We are probably skewing towards urban prepper landscape because of our living situation, so we do anticipate if things go poorly, that there may be some impacts on transportation and food/water supply, toilet paper, etc. over the next week or so. But we don’t feel too worried. Mostly worried about long blackouts or electrical grid issues.
Riverside County Prepper: We just went through major wildfire at right around a year ago. We anticipate some mudslides and flooding but because of our preps and positioning we are more worried about our younger orchard trees, and some worry about 2-3 days potentially without power at worse. We are very prepped for things like this, so we aren’t changing much. We bought more shelf stable food for the next few days (we already have extensive food storage), but deprioritized fresh foods that needed refrigeration. We added a few more cases of water, and filled up another 5 or so 5-gallon drinking water cubes/jugs. We had to buy some sand to have on hand, and we also bought about 40 cinder blocks to make wind breaks as we have some very young fruit trees we don’t want to lose. We moved some potted plants to behind reliable wind breaks. We added some sand to the edges of our patio to avoid flooding onto our cement areas and the entryways of our home, though we have never had water breach our thresholds prior.
How a Hurricane can change over land:
A Hurricane is formed when the warm tropical waters help to intensify thunderstorms, wind, and moisture mass over the ocean. Usually in the Pacific, they are generally geolocated in the Eastern pacific, but not usually predicted to hit landfall (when the eye of the storm is over land fully).
When the water is not longer being used to help broaden and increase the power and size of a hurricane, generally, the intensity dies down, hence why the coastal areas are usually affected more negatively (below it, is land, not water, and therefore the storm de-intensifies).
Why a Hurricane is dangerous for places like desert areas (in Southern California), even though they are typically more inland oriented:
Dry land, and in the case of most deserts (especially those with recent wildfires like Southern California Desert areas), lack of erosion mitigating vegetation is particularly susceptible to flash flooding.
Flooding can cause mudslides and can help to form large, fast moving “river-like” flows of water which can harm people and structures.
5:10pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Once again California’s grid proves to be the weakest link. At least to this point in our hurricane saga. Will be journaling offline, and updating as available.
5:00pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
We lost power at 5pm PST. I have some intermittent internet, but we expect to lose that at some point in the name of protecting equipment (at the carrier level) – we will find out. We will be keeping notes and doing a post mortem at least on the hurricane. But at this time, we are going to be updating much less frequently in order to be prudent with resources and to focus on the different variables here as this thing happens. It’s already much more severe than I even anticipated it would be and we are hours from the arrival still of the actual storm. So fingers crossed. Already have major ground water issues.
4:10pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Not a ton of difference here. It’s a pretty gloomy sky, and drizzling pretty consistently, but it’s not too wild.
4:10pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Rain has been constant here for the past hour. I’m almost positive we will have some flooding on standing ground on our property, though I’m not certain that we will have flooding in our home. Our hardpack foundation isn’t evacuating a ton of water, and because it has been so consistent, we already have 2-3 inches of water in some areas of our mostly flat backyard areas. I’m not sure how that will play out – we tend to have some of the better drainage and water evacuation in our area due to a lot of trees and proper garden soil, landscaping, etc. No word yet on road closures, but we haven’t even gotten hit yet, so it’s going to be bad unless something materially changes (at least for transportation and some others in our area).
2:45pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Skies darkening and wind and rain is still intermittent. You do kind of feel a bit of an eerie aura around the city though. Still a lot of people seemingly in stores trying to prep a bit at the last minute.
2:45pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
We just had an earthquake – not sure how far away, but there was definitely some shaking. Hopefully there isn’t some weird confluence of disasters this weekend for those getting the worst of it already.
In other news, we added some sand around our rear porch to keep water pooling further away from our home perimeter.
EDIT: Seems like that earthquake was in Fontana, Ca, where there is likely to be flooding already in certain parts, and it was a moderate (~5.6 magnitude) earthquake.
1:35pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Hearing about, and seeing major flooding already in Las Vegas; Parts of Baja, Los Angeles, and even parts of far out metro San Diego and Imperial Counties (e.g. Ocotillo). Making me second guess some of our resilliency as a city from a planning/prepping perspective. Honestly – no real worries based on what’s happened so far. This has been underwhelming, but, of course, we haven’t even got the storm near us yet. It’s hours away still.
1:35pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Still coming down, but no real updates. The rain is accumulating, but with some landscaping work we have done and having some moderate trees established, we are seeing decent water evacuation. I’m more worried about neighbors that have no erosion protection and are down-valley from wildfire ravaged hillsides.
1:15pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Rain is intensifying when it comes through. It’s still intermittent, but stronger. Wind is consistent, and above 15mph more often than not at our place.
1:15pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Rain is still consistent, but not heavy. Water is accumulating. I wouldn’t want to have a leaky roof this weekend in my area. Our trees have had zero effect from the very mild (current) winds.
1:00pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Wind speed is still in the 15-ish mph range, which is not too bad, but we aren’t expecting anything major til about 6pm PST. Showers are milder, and have mostly died down. We are seeing intermittent, but weaker showers.
1:00pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Rain is consistent. Starting to see some standing water – water not being evacuated as readily as we’d like. The Real problem in the desert (and sometimes the case in suburban sprawls) is that the compaction of the ground used to build a home on, and the surrounding pads is so hard that there is insufficient ground water evacuation, and without significant root structures (lots of trees, not enough water can be absorbed quick enough if the rate of rainfall is so high). I’m slightly more worried than I was, considering we are supposed to get 4 inches in an hour on Monday night. And all night tonight is looking like rain won’t let up. We may sandbag our back door and front door thresholds just to be safe. We’ve got some beautiful fruiting trees (lemons, tangerines, guavas and others that we hope don’t get thrashed in the increased winds)
12:25pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Wind has picked up significantly in the past 10-15 mins. Rain is intermittent and mild.
12:25pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Still consistently mild to moderate rain. No real standing water on our property yet except at/underneath the rooflines. No real wind to speak of yet.
12:05pm PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Still pretty calm – rains seem fleeting, and not intense yet. There was a period where there was significant sheets of rain coming down, but it’s been calm for 25-35 minutes. Landfall south of Ensenada, B.C. Mexico happened right around 11am PST. That’s still more than 150 miles south/southeast of S.D.
12:05pm PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Consistent light rains here (French Valley, Temecula, Winchester, areas).
11:15am PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Sustained mild to moderate rainfall on the harbor in downtown S.D. Sustained but only mild to moderate winds also – considerable dark cloud formations.
11:15am PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Calm conditions in low desert here (French Valley, Temecula, Winchester, areas.)
11:00am PST in San Diego Coastal Area UPDATE –
Wind increasing, some sheets of mild to moderate rain above the harbor in Downtown S.D. Surprisingly, they still had the harbor sightseeing excursion running. But it’s been mostly calm. Sky is darkening considerably over the past 2 hours.
11:00am PST in Southwest Riverside County UPDATE –
Nothing yet, super calm; mild spotty rain throughout last night just enough to keep the ground wet
Some prepper-related content for hurricane preparation and understanding tropical storms as a prepper
Hurricanes may be often misunderstood by preppers in certain regions. In preparation for this storm we did some significant research on past disasters related to tropical storms and hurricanes.
For instance, many of us remember how devastating Hurricane Katrina was. But it’s important to note that the real damage was both perpetrated and perpetuated by the levee breaking. Not necessarily the Rainfall, wind damage etc. And furthermore, the aftermath was particularly brutal because of the lack of regional resources, the looting that spiked after the damage, and the lack of general preparations made by most of the citizens of the area.
Without getting too political about climate change or other hot-button items regarding extreme weather in recent decades…
We think there is definitely an impact made by global climatic change, and other man-influenced and controversial topics. We think it’s hard to cleanly deny that humans don’t have impact on climate change and other associated concepts. But more than that, we think that it’s exceptionally hard to deny that weather does not impact or help to increase the frequency and intensity of events like hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, etc.
The intent her is not to say definitively that you should believe this concept or that it is absolutely a provable thing, rather, we think it’s an important consideration for future prepping and future preparedness mindset. Weather is likely to be affected by consumer and human interactions with the environment at some level, even if you believe that it is not currently impacting such events. it certainly seems to be trending that way. And as prudent preppers, maybe we aren’t necessarily required to feel a certain way about a political statement or a concept, but we do try to deal in facts, and with the increase of frequency and intensity of such events, it’s possible that we should be looking to these concepts to inform our discourse and our planning and preparatory needs going forward on some level.