Cal State Fullerton, one of the largest universities in California, has announced that it will cancel all in-person classes and activities on Monday, Aug. 21, due to the potential impact of Tropical Storm Hilary. The storm, which formed in the Pacific Ocean last week, is expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds, and possible flooding to Southern California.
Cal State Fullerton prioritizes safety of students and staff
In a news release posted on its website on Sunday night, Cal State Fullerton said that it made the decision to cancel in-person classes and activities “in an abundance of caution and with the safety of our students, faculty and staff as our top priority”. The university added that online classes will continue as planned on Monday, and that staff should provide services remotely unless they have essential responsibilities that require them to be on campus. The university also advised faculty not to issue an administrative drop to students missing classes on Monday.
The university said that it will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates via email, its website, and its social media channels. The university urged its community to stay safe and follow the guidance of local authorities.
Tropical Storm Hilary poses a threat to Southern California
Tropical Storm Hilary is the eighth named storm of the 2023 Pacific hurricane season. It formed on Aug. 16 near the coast of Mexico and moved northwestward, reaching its peak intensity of 70 mph (110 km/h) on Aug. 18. The storm then weakened slightly as it encountered cooler waters and increased wind shear.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hilary is expected to make a turn toward the northeast on Monday and approach the coast of Southern California by Tuesday morning. The storm is forecast to bring 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) of rain, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches (15 cm), to parts of Southern California, especially in the mountains and foothills. The storm could also cause flash flooding, mudslides, coastal erosion, and high surf. In addition, Hilary could produce tropical-storm-force winds of 39 mph (63 km/h) or higher in some areas.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for parts of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties from Monday morning through Tuesday evening. A high surf advisory is also in effect for the coast of Los Angeles and Orange counties from Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning.
Other schools in Orange County also close due to the storm
Cal State Fullerton is not the only school in Orange County that has decided to close due to the storm. The Anaheim Union High School District and Mater Dei High School also announced on Sunday that they will cancel in-person classes for Monday. Both schools cited storm-related safety concerns as the reason for their decision.
However, some other schools in Orange County plan to remain open on Monday. For instance, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, which are part of the South Orange County Community College District, said that they will be open for business as usual. The district said that it had determined that the worst of the storm conditions would be past by Monday and that there was minimal impact on its campuses.