Hilary obliterated daily rainfall records. How much fell in your area?

Vehicles cross a flood-control basin that has almost reached the street in Palm Desert, Calif.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

In just one day, Tropical Storm Hilary blew past daily rainfall records across Southern California, replacing a typically balmy August day with many, many inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

The daily rainfall records this time of year are typically quite low, weather service meteorologist Rich Thompson said. Sunday’s dumping easily surpassed rainfall records for every Aug. 20 since the weather service started tracking the data in 1877, he said.

“Odds are, you’ll see the same thing today,” Thompson said Monday morning. “The numbers won’t be quite as impressive in terms of breaking the records. Yesterday was just smashing them across L.A. and Ventura counties, just obliterating them!”


Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday received 2.99 inches of rain, far surpassing its previous record of 0.03 inch. Los Angeles International Airport received 2.54 inches, and Long Beach Airport reported 2.62 inches, compared with their previous records of “a trace” of rain, Thompson said. Burbank received 3.28 inches, compared with its previous record of .01 inch, and Palmdale reached 3.93 inches, compared with .05 inch.

Riverside reached 1.83 inches, compared with 0.09 inch in 2014. Lake Elsinore tallied 1.67 inches, more than three times as much as its 1961 record of 0.51 inch. The San Bernardino County mountains of Raywood Flat soaked up 11.73 inches — one of the highest rainfall reports in Southern California, said NWS San Diego meteorologist Elizabeth Adams.

“It’s really remarkable,” Adams said. “Most of our weather pattern in August is dominated by high pressure … which leads to very sunny skies, hot temperatures. Right now, the pattern is kinda opposite of what it normally is this time of year.”

Other Southern California mountains also set records, with an impressive 8.56 inches at Mt. Wilson, according to the weather service. Other record-breaking totals were reported in Lewis Ranch, which recorded 7.04 inches of rain; Leona Valley and Crystal Lake, both of which recorded 6.97 inches; and Mt. Baldy, with 5.84 inches.

The storm’s path through San Diego County gave the region several new records. San Diego received 1.82 inches — way above its 1906 record of 0.08 inch. Oceanside received 2.38 inches, compared with 0.04 inch in 1979. Vista trumped its 1979 record of 0.09 inch with 2.12 inches Sunday.

In Death Valley National Park, preliminary NWS data at Furnace Creek recorded 2.20 inches of rain — the park’s average annual rainfall for a year.


Park spokesperson Abby Wines said the rain “came in two bursts, with about an inch of rain in the morning and another inch on Sunday night.”

“Once verified, this would be the single rainiest day in Furnace Creek history,” Wines said, “beating the record of 1.7 inches set Aug. 5, 2022.”

The first tropical storm to hit Los Angeles in 84 years dumped record rainfall and turned streets into muddy, debris-swollen rivers.

Aug. 21, 2023

Here are some other rainfall records:

L.A. County coast and metro area

  • Hollywood Reservoir: 4.92 inches
  • Beverly Hills: 4.8 inches
  • Leo Carrillo: 4.39 inches
  • Bel-Air: 4.14 inches
  • Culver City: 3.65 inches
  • Santa Monica: 3.56 inches
  • Redondo Beach: 2.47 inches
  • Hawthorne: 2.24 inches

San Fernando Valley

  • Van Nuys: 4.7 inches
  • La Cañada Flintridge: 4.52 inches
  • Northridge: 4.47 inches
  • Calabasas: 3.98 inches
  • Porter Ranch: 3.96 inches
  • Agoura Hills: 3.95 inches
  • San Rafael Hills: 3.81 inches
  • Burbank: 3.56 inches
  • Canoga Park: 3.51 inches
  • Chatsworth Reservoir: 3.02 inches
  • Hansen Dam: 2.29 inches

San Gabriel Valley

  • Morris Dam: 5.76 inches
  • East Pasadena; 5.74 inches
  • Eagle Rock Reservoir: 4.7 inches
  • Sierra Madre: 4.45 inches
  • Claremont: 4.04 inches
  • La Verne: 4.01 inches
  • Alhambra: 3.6 inches
  • Whittier: 2.81 inches
  • Pasadena: 2.4 inches
  • Mt. Olive High School, Duarte: 1.96 inches

Santa Clarita Valley

  • Saugus: 6.46 inches
  • Newhall: 5.71 inches
  • Castaic Junction: 5.47 inches
  • Del Valle: 5.26 inches
  • Castaic: 4.51 inches

Times staff writer Louis Sahagun contributed to this report.