In the Middle of California's Rare Tropical Storm, a 5.1 Earthquake

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Hilary was drenching the southern part of the state
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 21, 2023 3:30 AM CDT
Amid Rare Tropical Storm, 5.1 Earthquake Also Hits California
Vehicles cross over a flood control basin that has almost reached the street, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, in Palm Desert, Calif.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Tropical Storm Hilary drenched Southern California from the coast to inland mountains and deserts Sunday evening, prompting rescues from swollen rivers and forcing some of the nation's largest school districts to cancel Monday classes. Millions braced for more flooding and mudslides, even as the storm began to weaken, the AP reports. The first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years, Hilary brought intensifying rain to the region, with some mountain and desert areas seeing more than half an average year's worth of rain come down in just one day, including the desert resort city of Palm Springs, which saw nearly 3 inches of rain by Sunday evening. Southern California got another unwelcome surprise in the afternoon as an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 hit near Ojai, about 80 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was felt widely and was followed by smaller aftershocks. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injury, according to a dispatcher with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. Meanwhile, forecasters warned of dangerous flash floods across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties due to the tropical storm, which made landfall in Mexico's arid Baja California Peninsula earlier Sunday, and fire officials rescued a dozen people from knee-deep water in a homeless encampment along the rising San Diego River. In Ventura County, authorities were searching for a person believed to be in the Santa Clara River, NBC News reports. Meanwhile, rain and debris washed out some roadways and people left their cars stranded in standing water. Crews pumped floodwaters out of the emergency room at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. A state of emergency has also been declared in Nevada, where the storm is heading, the Hill reports. Some school districts there have also canceled classes. (Read more California stories.)

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