Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Hurricane Hilary as it approached the Baja California peninsula on August 18, 2023.
Hillary, a rare category 4 hurricane in the Pacific Ocean, is expected to make landfall Sunday morning in northern Baja California before moving toward San Diego County
“The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite acquired this image of Hilary in the predawn hours of August 18, when the eye of the storm was about 400 miles off the coast of the peninsula,” said NASA.
“The image shows infrared brightness temperature data, which is useful for distinguishing cooler cloud structures (white and blue) from warmer surfaces below (yellow). The coolest temperatures are generally associated with the tallest clouds.”
“Hilary formed as a tropical storm off the coast of Manzanillo, Mexico, on August 16. Between August 17 and August 18, Hilary intensified quickly from a tropical storm to a forceful category 4 hurricane.”
Southern California is bracing for an event that the region has not experienced in more than eight decades. In 1939, El Cordonazo became the only tropical storm to make landfall in California in the 20th century
According to the National Weather Service, the system could bring “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” over Baja California and the Southwestern U.S. through early next week.
Officials believe that the hardest hit areas will include inland mountains, deserts and valleys. NBC reports that San Bernardino County has ordered evacuations for some mountain and foothill communities and Orange County has recommended evacuations in Silverado and Williams canyons.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory