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Tropical Storm Hilary live blog archive

The Ocean Beach Pier during Tropical Storm Hilary, Aug. 20, 2023.
The Ocean Beach Pier during Tropical Storm Hilary, Aug. 20, 2023.

Editor's Note: As of Aug. 21, 2023, this blog will not be updated.

12:58 p.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

Gallery: Tropical Storm Hilary's impacts around San Diego

12:20 p.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

11:53 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

San Diego State University goes to virtual instruction today, citing storm safety concerns

San Diego State University (SDSU) will move classes and most faculty and staff to virtual instruction or remote work at both its San Diego and Imperial Valley campuses Monday due to weather conditions.

The university plans to return to normal in-person instruction and on- campus work on Tuesday.

University officials urged students to contact faculty members directly if they have classes scheduled on Monday, and plan to join classes remotely that day. Libraries at both campuses will change hours. All food service was planning to be open. Read more. — City News Service

11:46 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

San Diego Community College District postpones first day of classes due to storm

The San Diego Community College District has postponed Monday's scheduled first day of classes for some 50,000 students due to Tropical Storm Hilary.

All classes at San Diego City, Mesa, Miramar and Continuing Education colleges are instead expected to start on Tuesday, the district said in a statement Sunday night. Read more. — City News Service

11:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

San Diego County, city officials give update on Hilary response

County Chairwoman, City of San Diego Mayor Give Update on Storm Assessment and Response

9:36 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

8:52 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

Fire crews rescue group stranded in riverbed

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department crews and lifeguard swift water teams rescued 12 people from the riverbed near the south side of the Morena bridge, 4300 Pacific Highway, authorities said Sunday.

The people were first reported stranded in or near the water's edge during Tropical Storm Hilary at 8:12 p.m. Sunday, according to an SDFRD online log.

By 8:49 p.m., three people were first rescued, followed by eight more. Nobody was in need of medical attention. At 9 p.m., crews located one more person who lifeguards walked out of the riverbed. Read more.City News Service

8:45 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

Spectators gawk as storm hits Imperial Beach

San Diego got soaked on Sunday as tropical storm Hilary raced through the county.

The storm had wind speeds over 100 miles per hour at its peak when it was in the tropical Pacific, but the system was significantly weaker when it arrived in Imperial Beach shortly after 2 p.m.

Light rain began overnight in parts of the county as the tropical storm covered the county under a huge cloud cover. Read more.Erik Anderson / KPBS

8:43 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

Record rainfall in some areas of San Diego County

Three climate stations in San Diego received record rainfall for the month of August, just with Sunday's rainfall, according to the NWS.

— Escondido, 2.66 inches, breaking the record of 2.20 inches in August 1945;

— Vista, 2.12 inches, breaking the record of 1.78 inches in August 1977;

— Cuyamaca, 4.11 inches, breaking the record of 4.10 inches in August 1977.

The NWS warned of "potentially historic amounts of rainfall" that was "expected to cause life-threatening to locally catastrophic flash, urban and arroyo flooding including landslides, mudslides and debris flows through early Monday morning." Read more. — City News Service

8:18 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

NCTD expected to restore service after Tropical Storm Hilary

The normal weekday schedule was expected to resume Monday on all transit modes following Sunday's disruption by Tropical Storm Hilary, the North County Transit District said.

The travel modes include Sprinter, Breeze, Lift and Coaster services.

Riders should expect some delays in the morning hours as NCTD implements service recovery and operations normalize, said Colleen Windsor of the NCTD. Schedules remain subject to change and possible additional cancellations of service may occur if weather conditions change substantially. Read more. — City News Service

5:16 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

'Worst in terms of the rainfall' is over in San Diego County

"I think for San Diego, the worst in terms of the rainfall has moved through," NWS meteorologist Alex Tardy told KPBS.

As of 5 p.m., the center of the storm was located right at the Riverside-San Diego County line.

“It was identified at 50 mph. So, what’s that mean? So, it’s officially a tropical storm with landfall into San Diego County," Tardy said. "We’re not done — still going to have some rain into this evening especially before 9 p.m. and still seeing some strong winds but we're now officially on the back end.”

Tardy said he doesn't expect additional flash flooding, other than the desert areas. While any flooding happening within the next few hours might be non-life threatening, some road ways might have standing water that's too deep to drive through. — KPBS staff

4:57 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

Red Cross opens two overnight shelters

San Diego County officials sent the following notice regarding overnight shelters organized by the Red Cross:

"The Red Cross is opening two overnight storm shelters for people forced from their homes. The Shelters are located at:

Corky Smith Gymnasium
274 Pico Avenue
San Marcos, CA 92069

Southwestern College Jaguar Aquatics Wellness and Sports
900 Otay Lakes Road
Chula Vista, CA 91910

The shelters offer food and rest for all in the community who need it. The Red Cross shelters will serve people with a wide range of needs, including people with disabilities, children and seniors. Pets will also be accommodated at the shelters." Read more. — KPBS staff

4:48 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

60 people take refuge in Tijuana temporary shelters

Tijuana has yet to suffer significant damage from Hilary. Officials reported five downed power lines, four car accidents and two flooded roads. No serious injuries.

As of 4 p.m., 60 people had taken refuge in Tijuana’s temporary shelters.

The forecast calls for two windows of heavy rainfall. One between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. The other between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

City officials continue to ask residents to stay indoors. — Gustavo Solis / KPBS

4:05 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

Flash flood warning issued for El Cajon, Santee, Poway

3:47 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

Tornado warning issued for South Central San Diego

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for south central San Diego County, noting that a severe thunderstorm "capable of producing a tornado was located near Alpine, moving north at 20 mph." Residents in the affected area are being advised to move indoors to a basement or interior room on the ground floor of a sturdy building, and avoid windows. Affected areas include Alpine, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Descanso, Skye Valley, Captain Grande Indian Reservation, Viejas Indian Reservation, Japatul Valley, Boulder Creek, Barrett Lake, Guatay, and Jamul. — City News Service

3:38 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

The southbound SR-75 off-ramp to Coronado Cays Boulevard is closed due to flooding, according to the Coronado Police Department. — City News Service

3:28 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

Now and 6 p.m. worst of tropical storm

Between now and 6pm is when the strongest parts of the storm are expected to start impacting San Diego.

"Some of the rain is being measured as much as an inch an hour on some of our foothills like Ranchita and Alpine. So the really heavy rain is now here. And this is going to be our biggest threat over the next 2 to 3 hours as it slowly lifts from the south to the north," said National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy. — Matt Hoffman / KPBS

2:41 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

2:31 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

Reports of power outages, minor traffic accidents in Tijuana

With the worst of Hilary still yet to come, there are some reports of power outages and minor traffic accidents in Tijuana.

Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar warned residents to not let their guard down. "Don’t let your guard down. Heavy rains and strong winds of 60 miles per hour pose a risk to our state," she said.

She says even though Hilary has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, heavy rains and strong winds up to 60 miles per hour pose a significant risk to the state. Flash floods and landslides remain a top concern.

The governor urged all residents to avoid non-essential travel. She told everyone to stay home or go to a temporary shelter if they feel unsafe. — Gustavo Solis / KPBS

2:22 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

San Diego Unified staff to report to work Monday

“We hope the storm is kind to us and we are a huge district facing potential flooding, power outages, and damage to facilities,” San Diego Unified School District Communications Director Maureen Magee told KPBS.

The district has 170 campuses that need to be protected and assessed once the storm moves through.

“Postponing the first day will allow us to assess any impacts to sites and district offices and ensure that we are prepared to welcome our students and families to the new school year on Tuesday,” Magee said.

All teachers and staff are being asked to report to school as scheduled Monday to assist in preparation and assessment of their classrooms.

Any staff members who are not able to do so safely should contact their direct supervisor.— MG Perez / KPBS

1:36 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

San Diego Unified delays first day of school

San Diego County Office of Education released the following statement:

"The San Diego Unified School District announced today that it will postpone the start of its school year by one day, with schools being closed to students on Monday, Aug. 21. Postponing the first day will allow the district to assess any impact to sites and offices and ensure they are prepared to welcome students and families to the new school year.

In conjunction with public safety partners, school districts, charter schools, and private schools are continuing to monitor weather and road conditions. Most school districts in the county have already begun the 2023-24 school year and, conditions permitting, will operate as usual on Aug. 21 to ensure students have a safe place to go and learn." Read more. — KPBS staff

1:33 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

City of San Diego advises of road closures

The following roads are closed due to potential flooding risk, according to city of San Diego officials:

  • Camino De La Reina at Camino De La Siesta (westbound)
  • Camino De La Reina west of Avenida Del Rio (eastbound)
  • San Diego Mission Road between Fairmount and Caminito Yucatan (east/west)
  • Qualcomm Way and Rio San Diego (southbound)
  • Mission Center Rd between Hazard Center Dr & Camino De La Reina (northbound)
  • Ward Rd at Camino Del Rio N (southbound)
  • Camino Del Este between Station Village Dr & Camino De La Reina (both)
  • Hazard Center Dr below SR 163. Read more. — KPBS staff

1:00 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

San Diego County officials give update on Tropical Storm Hilary

08-20-23 County of San Diego Tropical Cyclone Hilary Update

12:53 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

SDSU Imperial Valley services virtual on Monday

The San Diego State University officials sent the following email Sunday:

"Due to the flood and high winds warnings issued by the County of Imperial, SDSU Imperial Valley will provide virtual services, in addition to virtual instruction already announced, to the campus community tomorrow, on Monday, August 21. The Calexico and Brawley campus locations will be restricted to essential personnel on site; all others are encouraged to follow advisory guidance and avoid coming to campus. Approved on-the-ground team members will continue to assess conditions and to help ensure site safety. SDSU Imperial Valley plans to resume normal operations on Tuesday, August 22." Read more. — KPBS staff

12:52 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria declares local emergency

The office of Mayor Todd Gloria announced a local emergency. The proclamation allows the city to seek state and federal disaster-assistance resources.

“The emergency proclamation I signed today will allow us to access state and federal assistance to help us respond to, and recover from, this unprecedented tropical storm,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “I ask San Diego to continue to be vigilant – make sure water has a place to go around your property, prepare for power outages, steer clear of downed power lines and report them to 911, and avoid any unnecessary travel.” — KPBS staff

12:49 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

NCTD: Coaster train service suspended until further notice

The North County Transit District announced Sunday that Coaster train service was temporarily suspended until further notice due to severe weather. Sunday's scheduled southbound Coaster departures from Oceanside Transit Center at 2:16 p.m. and 5:16 p.m. were canceled, as were scheduled northbound Coaster departures from Santa Fe Depot at 3:40 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. Customers impacted by the canceled trips may access NCTD+ Assist discounted rideshare vouchers through Uber and Lyft.— City News Service

12:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

Hilary barrels toward San Diego County; emergency declared

Gusty winds and rain were being felt in parts of San Diego County Sunday morning, which was under an unprecedented tropical storm watch as Hilary was expected to make landfall in the early afternoon.

Light rains were expected to continue into the morning with the eye of the storm projected to hit between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. The heaviest rainfall is expected in the mountains into the deserts with catastrophic flash flooding possible, according to the National Weather Service. Read more. — City News Service

12:00 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023

Flash floods, landslides remain main concerns in Tijuana

As Tijuana braces for Hilary, flash floods and landslides remain the main concerns in Tijuana.

Mayor Monserrat Caballero is asking residents who live in at-risk areas to stay in temporary shelters. "We hope you don’t need these shelters. But, in case you do, they have everything you need," she said.

Tijuana has five temporary shelters. They have food, water, showers, beds and blankets.

As of noon Sunday, no major incidents were reported. However, there was some minor flooding in some city streets. — Gustavo Solis / KPBS

Updated: August 22, 2023 at 11:40 AM PDT
Editor's Note: As of Aug. 22, 2023, this blog will not be updated. For more information on this issue, visit the KPBS weather section.