Tropical Storm Hilary releases fury on Southern California

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LOS ANGELES, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The first tropical storm to hit Los Angeles in more than 80 years unleashed floods across parts of Southern California

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more accustomed to drought, as officials urged the public to stay safe as they began to count the cost of damage.

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The National Weather Service downgraded the hurricane to a tropical depression but not before California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency 

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 for much of Southern California, with flash flood warnings until at least 3 a.m. (1000 GMT) on Monday.

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Mountain and desert areas could get 5 to 10 inches (12 to 25 cm) of rare rain, as much as the deserts typically see in a year, forecasters said.

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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said she was still worried that people could let down their guard if Hilary left them initially unharmed

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but later bands of the storm swung back to surprise those who were not prepared. "We know that it could get much worse,

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" Bass told a news briefing on Sunday. "My concern is that people will be a little dismissive and go out when we need people to stay at home, to stay safe."

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Hilary's center was expected to move quickly across Nevada on Monday, with the storm forecast to dissipate later in the day, the weather service said.

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