California State Parks Urges Public to Limit Outdoor Activities During Hurricane Hilary

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— With Hurricane Hilary expected to impact several parts of California this weekend and early next week, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) is urging the public to limit outdoor recreation during the storm. Potential heavy rain, strong wind gusts, rip currents, storm surges, flash floods, etc., can be dangerous in coastal and inland parks. The public should expect temporary closures within the areas of the state that are in the path of the storm.

Hurricane Hilary – currently a powerful Category 4 storm – is forecast to track into Southern California over the weekend and into early next week, bringing moderate to heavy showers, thunderstorms and possibly stronger winds to Southern California. Some parts of Southern California could receive a year’s worth of rain from this storm. The location and intensity of precipitation and winds will be variable as the hurricane approaches California.

California is taking early, proactive steps to protect Californians from Hurricane Hilary. At the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, the State Operations Center at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is currently activated, and the state is closely monitoring incoming impacts from rain, wind and potential flash flooding and power outages. The State Operations Center is actively coordinating across state agencies to provide resources in preparation for potential impacts and to support response and recovery efforts.

Within the State Park System, State Parks has closed three park units:

  • Heber Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
  • Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area
  • Picacho State Recreation Area.

Also, there is a high surf advisory for Southern California, meaning dangerous waters, new rip currents and other perilous surf conditions.

The public is advised to stay out of the ocean this weekend. The department will continue to use a monitor and adapt strategy to protect the safety of its employees and the public. For the latest park closures, please visit parks.ca.gov/Incidents.

For those with camping or tour reservations within the areas of the state that are in the path of the storm and who wish to cancel their reservations, refunds will be provided. Cancellations can be made via ReserveCalifornia’s Customer Service line at (800) 444-7275. Hours of operation are seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PDT.

Individuals who choose to keep their reservations and/or explore the outdoors, below are some tips on how to recreate responsibly:

  • Check the Weather: For updates on Hurricane Hilary, visit weather.gov.
  • Know Before You Go: Before leaving home, visit the webpage of your outdoor destination to find out about any new restrictions, temporary closures or cancellations.
  • Be Prepared: Make sure you have plenty of food and water and anticipate loss of power and/or other services. 
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown: Remain off roadways prone to flooding. Do not attempt to cross flooded roadways.
  • Listen to Local Authorities: Evacuations and closures may occur for public safety purposes if weather conditions warrant. Always follow the guidance of your local authorities, including evacuation orders, road closures and other official notices. Sign up to receive local emergency alerts at calalert.org. For the latest road closure information, visit QuickMap.dot.ca.gov.

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The California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as State Parks, and the programs supported by its Office of Historic Preservation and divisions of Boating and Waterways and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at parks.ca.gov.

MAIN IMAGE: Negley Stockman on Unsplash

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