Hurricane Hilary Could Lead To A First-Ever NFL Event This Weekend In California

Hurricane weather with big waves and blowing palm trees

iStockphoto / stefanofiorentino

Hurricane Hilary, currently a Category-4 storm, is bearing down on Baja as Southern California is already under a Tropical Storm watch. And with the New Orleans Saints traveling to Los Angeles this weekend for a preseason game agains the Chargers, the NFL could be looking at a first-ever event.

According to Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the NFL is actively monitoring Hurricane Hilary as it approaches Southern California.

The last time a tropical storm made landfall in California was in Hurricane Nora in 1997 when it made landfall three times in Baja California before moving north days later. Other storms in the past 50 years have touched California as remnants of a named storm but never in the history of the NFL has a regular season game or preseason game been forced to move because of a tropical storm or hurricane.

The NFL is and SoFi Stadium are holding a call today to discuss a plan b, should the preseason game be impacted:

Hurricane Nora made its way to California on 9/27/97. The San Diego Chargers played a home game on the 28th, beating the Vinny Testaverde and the Baltimore Ravens 21-17.

Should this preseason game be impacted, it will be the first time in NFL history that a tropical storm or hurricane has impacted NFL play in California.

That’s not to say the game will be certainly be moved but the game is set to be played at 7:05 pm on Sunday. But the current National Hurricane Center projected arrival time puts Hurricane Hillary right on top of Southern California at 8 pm on Sunday night:

Hurricane Hilary projected arrival time California


Hurricane Hilary is expected to weaken once it moves out of the marine heat wave and closer to California. The category-4 hurricane is thought to arrive to California and Arizona as a tropical storm.

But it is still expected to unleash flash floods and devastating winds on the region. One NHC graphic puts the risk of flash flooding in San Diego and Los Angeles as high as 70%.

Another NHC map shows Death Valley receiving more rain in 24 hours than it has ever received in a 3-day span combined.

It will certainly be interesting to see if sports books take bets on whether or not this NFL preseason game between the Saints and Chargers will happen…