While the Golden State may occasionally be affected by moisture-laden debris from a tropical storm or hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean, it is extremely rare to receive a direct impact from a real storm. Southern California has only been hit by an intact hurricane once in recorded history. That hurricane approached San Diego on October 2, 1858, as a Category 1 storm with 80 mph winds. A California hurricane is a tropical cyclone affecting the state of California.
Usually, only the remains of tropical cyclones affect California. Since 1900, only two still-tropical storms have hit California, one because they made landfall directly from the coast and the other after making landfall in Mexico. Could a full-fledged hurricane affect California? It's not likely. Climatologist Bill Patzert says that “the odds are infinitesimal, so small that everyone should relax.
This is not to say that it is not possible to see the remains of a tropical storm in California. Sea surface temperatures of around 80 degrees have even been recorded around San Diego beaches, but this is extremely rare. The only real hurricane that came close to California was the San Diego hurricane of 1858.Whether it actually made landfall is still being debated. In early September 1997, another year in El Niño, Hurricane Linda, one of the strongest hurricanes in the eastern Pacific in history, threatened Los Angeles.
It hit Southern California with wind gusts of up to 65 mph, according to the Los Angeles Times, which damaged ships, structures, utility lines and crops. San Gorgonio Mountain northwest of Palm Springs received 14.5 inches; Lake Arrowhead reported 8.71 inches; the Civic Center in downtown Los Angeles got 1.98 inches. As the storm moved north, Southern California broke out under a torrid heat wave, with a recorded temperature of 107.2 degrees in Los Angeles in September. Then, in 1939, there were four such storms in the space of a month, including an unnamed tropical storm that landed in San Pedro, dropping a total of 5.62 inches of torrential rain in Los Angeles starting in September.
The average rainfall in Los Angeles in September, even with occasional tropical cyclone precipitation, is less than half an inch. If there's a silver lining to Tropical Storm Cordonazo in September 1939, it's that before the storm, there was no government forecast office in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles that month, as residents were sweating from an unusual heat wave and nervously watching the storm clouds from World War II accumulating abroad, four tropical cyclones were born that would affect Southern California in the eastern North Pacific. Yuma can experience more storms, making it a kind of hurricane alley, since, unlike the coasts of San Diego and Los Angeles, located in the cold Pacific, it is only 70 miles north of the warm Gulf of California bathtub, where the water temperature in summer can reach 90 degrees.