The Storm Was Bad, But We’ve Had Worse. Was Hilary Over-Hyped? Your Say …

by on August 22, 2023 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

A funny thing happened to a good friend on Saturday, August 19, as Hilary approached.

That morning, he went to People’s food store on Voltaire to buy a food item but found some kind of festival going on — a birthday celebration, perhaps — there was a band playing in the parking lot and he saw a whole bunch of hippies grooving to the music, a kids’ jumper was set up — and the parking lot was closed. All the parking spaces on Voltaire were also taken, so he proceeded up Voltaire to Stump’s market.

Once he arrived at Stumps, he witnessed a whole other scene. People were rushing in to get survival supplies, flashlights, water, toilet paper perhaps – it was Armageddon!

And it seemed much of the local media and politicians played Hilary as armageddon. The governor declared an emergency. The mayor declared an emergency. The hurricane turned into a rare tropical storm, with the danger of a cyclone. All beaches and parks were closed. San Diego city schools delayed their openings. A dozen unhoused people were rescued from the rising waters in the river. Boulders and mudslides blocked mountain roads. The usual Mission Valley roads were flooded. Rain totals were broken. Hundreds of first responders were at the ready.

But, in the end, we had one long day and half of rain and wind. It was bad — but we’ve had worse. San Diego has experienced rougher and wetter storms. More flooding, more rain, heavier winds, more road closures.

Luckily for us, Hilary turned northeast towards Palm Springs and Las Vegas and unluckily for them, swamped them.

Yet, was Hilary over-hyped? Was the storm over sensationalized? It was big news everywhere, everyday – and we know how the media love big news. But did the media and electeds exaggerate the damage it would cause, feeding off each other?

Or should we simply appreciate the preparedness and count our blessings?

What do you think?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris August 22, 2023 at 2:51 pm

While some people over-panicked, it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.


Honesty August 22, 2023 at 3:57 pm

The good part was CNN came to town, finally realizing there are people south of Los Angeles. The bad part was that they kept referring to *Tia-Juana* – who will tell them it’s *Ti-Juana*?


Ron M August 22, 2023 at 7:51 pm

No one knew the storm would veer East, so being prepared and well noticed is a heck of a lot better than the victims of Lahaina got in Hawaii. I am glad most people locally are safe, warm, and secure. Just look at the photos of Palm Springs and think about how bad it could be. Also, and this is something I learned while working in environmental protection at the County of San Diego, the San Vicente Dam is rubble-filled with a concrete lining and if it ever were to top and burst, there would be a mile long “bubble” of water 60-feet deep racing down the San Diego River killing every man, woman, child, pet and livestock in its path. Yes, I am pleased we came out ok.


Frank Gormlie August 23, 2023 at 10:16 am

Of course! We’re pleased that San Diego came out okay. We’re simply raising the question – as some other media here have. ( Yet, was it necessary to close all the beaches — except the ocean – and all the parks? Was it necessary to postpone the first day of school for city kids, leaving parents to scramble for child-care?


Jenny B August 23, 2023 at 11:23 am

I think planning so far ahead of the storm, closing schools, beaches and parks before knowing what the storm would do, was not smart planning. If they had waited a few hours to decide it would not have hurt anything and given them time to see it wouldn’t be needed.


chris schultz August 23, 2023 at 1:09 pm

Yes. Better safe than sorry despite the over dramatic hype from the weather channel.


Jenny B August 23, 2023 at 11:35 am

Ron, the San Vincente dam is not on the San Diego river. It is in the watershed of the river.
The El Capitan dam is a reservoir on the river. It is not in good shape so before Hilary they released water to accommodate the expected rainfall. That was a good precaution even though it meant loosing precious water to the ocean.
And yes, funds need to used to retrofit that dam to meet current standards. Convince Darrell Issa to put in a request to fund repair.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman August 23, 2023 at 7:47 pm

Postponing the first day of school in big-labor school districts? No surprise after the way education during the Pandemic was managed.


Mosesroses August 26, 2023 at 10:12 am

I went to the beach to Santa Cruz cove I wanted to go because I felt in my heart that it was not going to be dangerous. I took a broom and a shovel to the beach I shoveled and swept the stairs to the beach it took me about 45 minutes 20 mph winds and steady sprinkling it was an awesome day my heart and prayers go to the families who did not have an awesome day. I love Ocean Beach and I want to take care of Ocean Beach God willing I will continue to clean and to take care of Ocean Beach because I feel it in my heart to do so but I will not put my head down I will not stop doing what I feel like I have to do because the news outlets the media the governor of the mayor are all going to tell us that something’s going on when in reality it’s nothing major. I felt like if it was covid-19 restrictions all over again and I’m not one to obey rules when they’re against my health my mental health my physical health emotional health. Thank you for allowing me to express myself I want to tell everybody that don’t believe the hype listen to your heart open your heart open your heart to the ocean thank you peace and love.


lyle August 26, 2023 at 5:15 pm

Thank you Moses. You inspire me to want to do good too.


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