SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — As Tropical Storm Hilary approached the San Diego-Tijuana region from the south late last week, residents on both sides of the border were told to prepare for a “catastrophic weather event” that would generate a lot of wind and rain damage.
The National Hurricane Center went as far as to issue the first-ever tropical storm watch for the southwest corner of the continental United States.
And, as they had during the coronavirus pandemic, many residents rushed to supermarkets and other retailers to stock up on food, water and toilet paper.
Gas stations were also mired in long lines as people wanted to fill their cars with gasoline in case none was available after the storm.
But the dire predictions and fears never materialized in the region
There was the typical flooding and runoff in the Tijuana River Valley directly north of the border, and while some roadways had to be closed, officials say it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
In Tijuana, several rain-related traffic accidents were reported. One crash resulted in the death of a young woman, but investigators said excessive speed was the reason for the fatality and not the weather.
Baja’s Civil Protection Agency reported 19 mud and rock slides across the state along with several downed trees and electric poles resulting in a few minor power outages.
A few heavily-traveled roads in Tijuana were flooded, and many cars were abandoned in several feet of water overnight.
In rural areas south and east of Tijuana, damage to a couple of highways was reported after rushing water cut through and undermined the roadways, said Baja California Gov. Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda.
The governor said repairs could take up to a few months.
According to Baja’s civil protection, the “final Hilary tally” in the state is 113 minor power outages, 30 downed trees, 29 transformer malfunctions, 21 fallen power poles, 18 areas where rivers left their embankments and three raw sewage spills.