Friday, September 22, 2023
HomeAlmanacSurf's up: Hurricane Hilary aims at SoCal, may disrupt West Coast travel

Surf’s up: Hurricane Hilary aims at SoCal, may disrupt West Coast travel

Remnants of Hurricane Hilary, now west of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, are predicted to strengthen and aim at Baja’s coast and California over the weekend. The hurricane is now a Category 4 hurricane, extremely rare for the Pacific Coast.

As a result, many airlines serving the West Coast and Mexico are offering flexible travel policies and are waiving fees and fare differences for those who are booked this weekend to some destinations, such as Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. See the summary at the bottom of the page.

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Travel alerts have been issued by airlines for Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in Baja California. Disruptions in air travel are likely to spread throughout the North American continent; tropical storms with a lot of precipitation can cause flash floods and landslides in the Southwest, can wash out roads and disrupt power and communications.

Friday morning image of Hurricane Hilary approaching Cabo San Lucas, Baja California.

On Friday morning, a first-ever tropical storm watch was been issued by the National Weather Service for Southern California from the border of Mexico, to the San Bernardino Mountains and Catalina Island. Usually when a tropical storm reaches the Southwest, it weakens into a depression, but this one appears to be different, meteorologists say.

The Weather Service predicts the system will retain its tropical storm strength as it advances into Southern California, and even bring rain as far as southern Nevada.

The alert for excessive rainfall and flash flooding includes the the Coachella Valley and the Anza Borrego Desert east of the San Bernardino and San Diego Mountains. Some areas may receive rain equivalent to a normal year’ worth of precipitation during this storm.

Palm Springs, for instance, usually sees four or five inches of rain per year, but the forecast for Saturday to Monday is up to seven inches.

The Las Vegas office of the National Weather Service reported “there is high confidence in the likelihood of significant to historic flooding impacts occurring across much of the region, particularly in Inyo and San Bernardino counties.”

As of Friday morning, heavy surf is battering Cabo San Lucas resort beaches, shown in the photo at the top of the page.

Air travel notes:

Alaska Airlines has a flexible travel policy for passengers at Los Cabos International Airport and Loreto International Airport (LTO). The airline will accommodate changes and cancellations for flights to and from these airports.

American Airlines will waive change fees for customers who purchased their tickets by Aug. 16, and are scheduled to travel between Aug. 19 and 20. Passengers can make changes to their itineraries up until Aug. 20, and complete their travel within a year from the original ticket date. A fare difference fee applies.

Southwest Airlines customers with reservations to, from, or through Los Cabos Aug. 18, through Aug. 20, can modify their travel plans. Fliers may rebook in the original class of service or opt for standby travel within 14 days of their original travel date and between the same airports. No additional charges will be imposed.

United Airlines offers fee waivers for customers flying through Los Cabos through Aug. 23. Rebooked tickets must be in the same cabin and between the same airports as the original ticket was for.

JetBlue will waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling to and from Los Cabos from Aug. 18 and Aug. 20. Travelers may opt for a refund if their flights were originally booked on or before Aug. 17.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. All of those super rich leftists and Trump haters are about to see their mansions destroyed at Cabos. Good luck getting relief from the Mexican government. 😉

    • It rained 24 inches in 24 hours thirty years ago in Cabo region . Not much news about it . Thousands of Mexicans died that were living in wash’s . I was not there but saw it before and after .

      Also was in Palm Springs a few years ago when it rained 6 inches in one day , mostly on Mt. San Jacinto . Wash’s were full of water , actually raging rivers and some had fifty feet of water flowing thru .

      Not unprecedented rain in SoCal . National Weather service has mentioned golf ball size hail in and around Fairbanks three times this summer , never happened . One of the emergency broadcasts freaked and panicked all the plane owners and it never blew or rained that day . No one I know has ever seen golf ball size hail in Tanana Valley in 80 years . I’ve only seen hail smaller than pea .

      Let’s see how it plays out ! Hopefully another dud !

  2. I wonder if this video
    h ttps:// is real and it the earth science of a hole in the Pacific Ocean bottom influences storms such as hurricane formations

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