Hurricane Hillary, now a post-tropical storm, was record breaking in more than one way.
First, tropical storm warnings were issued for Southern California—along with the greater Los Angeles area—a first since the hurricane warning program’s inception in 1943.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Hillary made landfall over the northern Baja California peninsula on Aug. 20 at 11 a.m. bringing torrential rains along with 65 mph winds.
Pacific landing tropical storms are rare due to the typically dry air and very cold ocean temperatures that inhibit tropical storm growth. The last time a tropical storm made landfall in Southern California was in 1939. That storm left a path of devastation that will exceed the damage from Hilary.
Inland flooding was the main mode of destruction, which caused landslides and gave Death Valley nearly six months of rain in only a few hours. The heaviest rainfall occurred in the mountains outside of Los Angeles. Some areas experienced rainfall totals as high as 10 inches over a 48-hour period.
CoreLogic’s weather center predicted that 1.553,803 residential homes in the Western U.S. are at an elevated risk of inland flooding and flash flooding. This includes both single-family homes and multi-family units.
CoreLogic noted, not all properties listed above will sustain damage. The number of damaged properties will be a subset of the total 1,553,803 buildings. The property counts represent all single- and multifamily residential properties with a Flood Risk Score Rating of moderate or greater that were exposed to at least one inch of rain in a 24-hour period.
This amount of rainfall could be significant, especially in arid regions of the southwestern U.S. Flash flooding in urban and desert environments is likely due to quick and intense rainfall.
So, is there a link between home prices and major tropical storms? The jury is out on a hard “yes or no,” but many area affected by Hillary experienced annual home price declines. According to the CoreLogic U.S. Home Price Insights—August 2023 report, the CoreLogic Housing Price Index (HPI) for June 2022 to June 2023 decreased in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego by 5.5%, 5.5%, 2.4% and 0.9%, respectively. The CoreLogic HPI measures multiple market segments, referred to as tiers, based on property type, price, time between sales, loan type (conforming vs. non-conforming) and distressed sales.
Click here to read the report in its entirety.