Amidst the impact of Tropical Storm Hilary, Southern California was hit by a magnitude 5.1 earthquake.
The earthquake struck on Sunday afternoon, with its epicenter approximately four miles southeast of Ojai, California, and about 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles, as reported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The seismic event occurred at 2:41 p.m. PT.
After the initial earthquake, a series of smaller aftershocks, ranging from 2.6 to 4.0 in magnitude, occurred.
KABC, also known as ABC7 Los Angeles, was in the middle of live coverage of Tropical Storm Hilary when the earthquake hit, adding an extra layer of drama to the already intense footage.
— Pat Gray Unleashed (@PatUnleashed) August 20, 2023
There have not been any reports of injury or damage as a result of the earthquake or the dozen-plus aftershocks that struck the Ojai area.
Just hours after the earthquake, Hilary made landfall. Upon reaching California’s shores, Hilary became the first tropical storm to make landfall in the state since 1939.
Hilary intensified into a Category 4 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm just before its Sunday landfall. It was later reclassified as a subtropical cyclone on Monday morning.
Although the system was projected to weaken further and eventually dissipate during the day, it was anticipated to continue generating substantial rainfall, leading to notable flooding and strong winds across the western United States.
Numerous regions were already experiencing flooding, and there were several reports of rock and mudslides.
It deposited over 50% of the usual yearly rainfall in certain desert and mountain zones, such as Palm Springs, which accumulated nearly three inches of rain by Sunday evening.
Storm-related power outages affected tens of thousands of individuals in Southern California, and Palm Springs experienced a loss of 911 service on Sunday night, as reported by CBS News Los Angeles. The outskirts of Hilary’s influence continued to hover over the greater Los Angeles area, bringing heavy rainfall to certain regions early on Monday morning.
By 8 a.m. PT on Monday, Hilary was situated approximately 115 miles west-northwest of Elko, Nevada, and moving swiftly in a north-northeast direction at 24 mph, carrying maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.
Even though it had lost hurricane status, the system continued to bring substantial rainfall to the region.
This marked the first instance where the National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for Southern California.
President Biden, on Sunday, announced that he had requested FEMA to dispatch personnel and resources to California. He also revealed that the Coast Guard had strategically positioned aircraft to facilitate swift response and rescue operations.