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Hurricane Hilary to trigger floods in Baja California peninsula, southwestern US – NHC


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Hurricane Hilary was barreling towards Mexico’s Baja California peninsula on Saturday, a U.S. government agency said, warning that catastrophic and life-threatening flooding was likely on the peninsula and U.S. Southwest.

The hurricane already was disrupting flights and baseball games in the United States.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the hurricane was weakening on its path to the west-central coast of the peninsula this evening. It predicted it would lose more strength and turn into a tropical storm as it heads towards southern California during the day and evening on Sunday.

But dangerous rains remain a major concern, the NHC said, with up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rainfall expected in some regions of in Baja California and California.

“Flash and urban flooding, locally catastrophic, is expected, especially in the northern portions of the peninsula,” the Miami-based agency said in its latest advisory.

Rainfall of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts of 10 inches, was expected across portions of southern California and southern Nevada as well, the NHC added.

“Dangerous to catastrophic flooding is expected,” the NHC said.

U.S. President Joe Biden received a briefing from senior staff on preparations for the hurricane and his team’s work with state and local agencies ahead of the storm, the White House said.

In Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, some school and other non-essential activities were canceled through Monday, and authorities in Mexico’s second-largest city, Tijuana, urged people in high-risk zones to move to temporary shelters.

Hilary was moving north northwest at 17 miles (27 km) per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (177 km), the NHC said. Heavy rains were already affecting portions of Baja California and the U.S. Southwest.

U.S. authorities have warned citizens and businesses to take precautions.

Nearly 200 flights scheduled for Sunday at the San Diego International Airport have been canceled and another 184 on Monday, according to the FlightAware website.

In California, Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles-based Dodgers and Angels brought their Sunday games forward to Saturday to turn them into split doubleheaders.

The city’s soccer teams, Los Angeles FC and LA Galaxy, both postponed their Sunday matches due to threat of heavy rains and flooding.

(Reporting by Drazen Jorgic, Steve Holland and Michael Martina; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Deepa Babington)

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