Based on its high-resolution US Hurricane Reference Model, catastrophe modeller Karen Clark & Company (KCC) has estimated the privately insured loss from Hurricane Hilary will be close to $600 million in the US.
As per KCC, this estimate includes the privately insured damage to residential, commercial, and industrial properties, as well as automobiles, though does not include boats, offshore properties, or NFIP losses.
Outlining the particulars of the event, KCC noted that Hurricane Hilary rapidly intensified from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane in the warm waters off the coast of southwestern Mexico in less than 48 hours.
“The storm briefly reached Category 4 intensity before interacting with cool waters and dry, stable air that caused it to decrease in intensity, downgrading to a tropical storm before landfall,” KCC explained.
Hilary made landfall at 11 AM PDT on August 20 with peak winds of 65 mph near San Quintín in Baja California. According to KCC, the primary impact from Hilary was flooding rains across southern California.
Citing the National Weather Service, KCC said August 20 was the wettest August day on record for both Los Angeles and San Diego, with 2.5 inches of rain in LA and 1.8 inches in San Diego.
“Some desert and mountain areas saw more than half their average annual rain, including Palm Springs which received nearly 3 inches of rain. Death Valley received 2.2 inches of rain in a single day, which is a year’s worth of rain for that area,” KCC said.
Further, the saturated grounds from heavy rainfall caused mudslides and rockslides in California, while the storm also brought strong winds, with some recorded wind gusts upwards of 70 mph, which knocked over trees and power lines and left tens of thousands of residents without power in the state.