Baja California hurricane could bring rain, thunderstorms—and slightly cooler temperatures

Forecasters say the oppressive heat that has plagued the state for the last eight days will end Saturday “in a very odd way:” The remnants of a cooler Pacific Ocean hurricane will collide with the high-pressure system that is creating a hot dome over much of the state.

Hurricane Kay, which is now circulating west of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, will move north and is expected to dissipate near Ensenada early Saturday, according to the most recent weather models.

As the system drifts into the waters southwest of San Diego, the cooler moisture from the storm system will create a likely chance of showers and thunderstorms late Friday into Sunday for the region south of Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, according to the National Weather Service.

There is a 40% chance of rain late Friday and a 50% chance of rain on Saturday in Long Beach, the NWS said.

The heat is expected to remain elevated, with high temperatures around 82 degrees, and lows remaining elevated at around 72 degrees.

Over the next few days, temperatures will remain in the 90s, with Thursday predicted to be the hottest at 100 degrees, according to the NWS. Excessive heat warnings will remain in place for most of the Southland through Friday, with some possibly extending into Saturday morning, forecasters said.

But the weekend storm will bring noticeably cooler temperatures than the record highs of the past week, which peaked at 108 degrees on Sunday, the NWS said.

Hurricanes are a fairly rare event this far north in the Pacific Ocean because of cooler water temperatures.

The only time a tropical storm, spawned by a hurricane, made landfall near Long Beach was Sept. 25, 1931, when the so-called “Lash of St. Francis” hit near San Pedro. The storm similarly came in the midst of a sweltering heat wave.

The storm brought gales of up to 65 mph, with lifeguards rushing to close the beaches. In all, 48 people were killed in California.

The odds of a full-blown hurricane striking California are infinitesimal, retired climatologist Bill Patzert previously told the Post.

“The magic number for hurricanes is 80 degrees,” Patzert said, “and the farther north you get from Cabo San Lucas, the cooler the water gets, between 60 and 70 degrees. The other thing that mitigates hurricanes is the steering winds in the Pacific that tend to knock the top off hurricanes.”

The Lash of St. Francis brought a record 5.5 inches of rain, shattering the previous record of 1.29 inches of rainfall in the entire month of September, set in 1919.

Most forecast models show a likelihood of measurable rainfall in the areas south of Santa Barbara this weekend, including Long Beach, with more significant rainfall predicted in the mountain areas.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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