Earthquake rattles California just as tropical Storm Hilary drenches south of state and Mexico

California has been drenched by tropical storm Hilary, the first of its kind in 83 years, as Robert Moore reports

An earthquake shook a large swathe of California on Sunday just hours after a tropical storm came ashore bringing torrential rain.

The 5.1-magnitude quake struck 2.41pm local time (10.41pm BST) on Sunday, around 80 miles from Los Angeles, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was felt widely across the region and bookended by smaller foreshocks and aftershocks - but there were no immediate reports of major damage or injury, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.

Rain and debris washed out some roadway. Credit: AP

The quake hit as authorities braced for tropical storm Hilary.

Hilary drenched the south of the state from the coast to inland mountains and deserts, prompting rescues from swollen rivers and forcing some of the nation’s largest school districts to cancel classes.

Millions braced for more flooding and mudslides, even as the tropical storm - the first to hit southern California in 84 years - began to weaken.

The highest amount of rainfall was felt in Mount San Jacinto, Riverside County, California where 11.74 inches of rain fell in 48 hours.

Hilary is just the latest major climate disaster to wreak havoc across the US, Canada, and Mexico. Credit: AP

Hilary brought intensifying rain to the region, with some mountain and desert areas seeing more than half an average year's worth of rain come down in just one day, including the desert resort city of Palm Springs.

Palm Springs has been dealt a second blow from the storm as flooding has downed emergency service lines and closed roads.

Forecasters warned of dangerous flash floods across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, and fire officials rescued a dozen people from knee-deep water in a homeless encampment.

Meanwhile, rain and debris washed out some roadways and people left their cars stranded in standing water while crews pumped floodwaters out of the emergency room at hospital in Rancho Mirage.

People sleep at a gym being used as a shelter after the landfall of Tropical Storm Hilary in Rosarito, Mexico. Credit: AP

The storm then moved through mudslide-prone Tijuana, threatening the improvised homes that cling to hillsides just south of the US border.

The storm was projected to weaken as it continued moving northward over California and into Nevada, but threats remained.

Richard Pasch, a hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center, said the storm should become a “post-tropical cyclone” sometime on Monday as it loses a well-defined center, but that “very heavy” rain and strong winds are still likely.

As Hilary bore down on Mexico, one person drowned on Saturday in the Mexican town of Santa Rosalia when a vehicle was swept away in an overflowing stream.

Rescue workers saved four other people, said Edith Aguilar Villavicencio, the mayor of Mulege.

Mexican army troops fanned out across Mulege, where some of the worst damage occurred, and power lines were toppled.

Emergency personnel were working to restore power and reach those cut off by the storm.

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