PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Following a stretch of record-setting heat, Oregon could see rain next week as Tropical Storm Hilary moves from the Pacific Ocean and makes a northward turn toward the southwestern U.S.
Hilary strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane off Mexico’s Pacific coast Thursday morning. It’s expected to become a major hurricane by Friday, with winds more than 110 mph, and could skim the edge of the Baja coast by the weekend. Hilary is then expected to pass through Southern California on Monday.
While the forecast could change, current modeling shows that Hilary will still be a powerful hurricane as it makes landfall between San Diego and Los Angeles, KGW Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino said Wednesday night on The Story.
“That would be truly remarkable,” Zaffino said. “We have had tropical storms hit Southern California. Ignacio in 1997, dumped a bunch of rain down there, and then moved north and actually dropped some rain in Oregon.”
In August of 1997, Ignacio weakened from a tropical storm into a tropical depression before moving inland into California. The last known tropical storm to hit California happened 84 years ago in September of 1939, and it was informally known as “El Cordonazo” or “The Lash of St. Francis.”
The heaviest rainfall could include a stretch between San Diego, California and Yuma, Arizona, along with the area between Bakersfield, California and Tucson, Arizona. Those areas have the potential for major flooding.
“That rain shield eventually makes it into Oregon. We could end up getting rain from a former hurricane off the coast of Mexico. That is super unusual as well. So our summer of unusual weather keeps going,” Zaffino said.
The rainfall outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, according to Zaffino, shows significant rain across Oregon by next Wednesday. Portland could see 0.17 inches of rain by 8 p.m. on Wednesday, while Bend could see 0.51 inches and 0.71 inches could drop on Burns.
“The good thing about that would be the impact on the wildfires,” Zaffino said.
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