Hurricane Hilary, heading to Mexico’s Pacific coast, has weakened but can still cause “life-threatening” flooding, US meteorologists warn.
With winds up to 100mph (175km/h), it is now a Category 2 storm, the National Hurricane Center says. Hillary is due to make landfall later on Saturday.
The NHC is already reporting heavy rain in parts of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and the south-western US.
Hilary will weaken to a tropical storm before it reaches southern California.
It would be the first tropical storm to hit the US state in more than 80 years.
In its latest update at 21:00 GMT on Saturday, the NHC says the hurricane is now roughly 285 miles (459km) south-east of Baja California’s westernmost point of Punta Eugenia.
“Hilary appears to be weakening quickly,” John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist at the NHC, is quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency on Saturday.
“The eye is filling and the cloud tops in the eyewall and rainbands have been warming during the past several hours,” he adds.
Hilary was earlier a powerful Category 3 storm with winds up to 130mph.
Rainfall could reach 10in (25cm) in some areas of southern California and southern Nevada, the NHC says. “Dangerous to catastrophic flooding is expected,” it adds.
In San Diego, the National Weather Service (NWS) earlier issued a warning for the “high potential” of flash flooding. Nearly 26 million people in the south-western US were under flood watch.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) had “pre-positioned personnel and supplies in the region.
“I urge everyone in the path of the storm to take precautions and listen to the guidance from state and local officials,” he said.
Parts of Mexico are under a tropical storm watch and its government has placed 18,000 soldiers on standby to assist in rescue efforts.
As the storm bears down, Major League Baseball has rescheduled three games in southern California, while SpaceX has delayed the launch of a rocket from its base on the central California coast until at least Monday.
The National Park Service also closed Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve, both in California, to prevent visitors from being stranded in the event of flooding.