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Should California expect more tropical storms like Hurricane Hilary?

Rain and wind lashes rows of palm trees.
Palms are hit by strong wind and rain from Tropical Storm Hilary in the deserts of Southern California on August 20th, 2023, in Palm Desert, California.  | Photo by David McNew / Getty Images

California is notoriously dry this time of year. Yet, over the course of a single day this weekend, some desert areas were hit with more than a year’s worth of rainfall.

Hurricane Hilary threw California into a state of emergency after more than 80 years without a tropical storm making landfall there. This kind of storm is unusual for California, and it will probably remain a rare occurrence. Even so, strange and extreme weather is a hallmark of climate change. And experts say it could have more curveballs in store that the state should be preparing for.

“There probably will not be a whole lot more [hurricanes that move into the southwestern US] in the future. But when they do happen, they’ll be much more like Hilary,” says David…

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