The storm, which was downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane about 24 hours before making landfall along Baja California’s coast, brought on a steady downpour that caused extensive flooding, power outages, downed trees and mudslides.
The unusual storm marked California’s first tropical storm to hit in 84 years. Only a handful of storms have managed to bring tropical storm-force winds to the Golden State in the last century.
Hilary’s center hit San Diego County by 5 p.m. By 6 p.m., the heaviest precipitation had subsided, National Weather Service said, while the back edge of the system continued to drop steady rain on residents into the evening.
Some parts of San Diego’s mountains received as much as 6-8 inches with Hilary’s downpour, according to preliminary numbers from the National Weather Service. Coastal areas west of the mountains received about 1-2 inches — roughly 10% to 20% of the area’s average annual precipitation.
Several flash flood warnings were issued across the county Sunday, stretching as far east as Jacumba and as far north as Mount Laguna. Around 3:40 p.m., NWS also issued a brief tornado warning in Alpine and Descanso. The warning was lifted by 4 p.m.
Thousands of San Diego Gas & Electric customers were also without power throughout the afternoon and evening due to Hilary.
Trees and branches knocked over by strong winds were reported across the city.
From the Tijuana River Valley to Oceanside, here are photos of the historic weather event:
Here’s a handful of photos from photojournalists capturing the storm’s impact on San Diego County’s neighbors to the north:
Counties north of San Diego were also hit hard by Hilary, with heavy rainfall particularly battering communities in the mountain and desert areas.