(FOX40.COM) — Hurricane Hilary strengthened to a Category 4 storm Friday, making it a “major hurricane,” according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm formed Wednesday in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico and models show it is likely to track north toward California, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Hilary is forecast to intensify to a Category 4 hurricane as it moves toward the Baja California peninsula over the next few days, but will likely weaken into a tropical storm before reaching Southern California, according to the NHC and FOX40 Chief Meteorologist Adam Epstein.

It is still too early to pinpoint the path and strength of Hilary as it moves toward California, but forecasters are advising residents to monitor forecasts.

Although Hilary will weaken, there will be rain and wind in Southern California starting Saturday night and there is still a chance of hurricane-force winds into Sunday night.

Hurricane Hilary path
The cone indicates the probable path of the storm, but does not show its size, NOAA said. (NOAA)

In Southern California, wind gusts could reach between 30 and 50 miles per hour, with gusts up to 70 mph in areas of the Inland Empire. This has the potential to knock down some trees.

The rain from the storm has the potential to measure between one and five inches, with some areas experiencing up to seven inches, Epstein said.

After passing through the southern part of the state, rain and wind could reach Northern California by Monday morning, but it will be considerably weaker, Epstein said.

If Hilary tracks inland, the Central Valley may not see much rain beyond half an inch, with the Sierra Nevada receiving up to 1.5 inches, and wind gusts of 20-30 mph, Epstein said.

However, these totals could increase if Hilary tracks closer to the coast.

Tropical storm Hilary formed Wednesday off of the southern coast of Mexico.