Southern California is rarely affected by a direct impact from a hurricane, with only one recorded instance in history. The San Diego hurricane of 1858 is still being debated as to whether it actually made landfall. In 1997, Hurricane Linda threatened Los Angeles, bringing wind gusts of up to 65 mph and causing damage to ships, structures, utility lines and crops. In 1939, four tropical cyclones affected Southern California in the eastern North Pacific, including an unnamed tropical storm that landed in San Pedro.
Yuma is more prone to storms due to its proximity to the warm Gulf of California. The Golden State may occasionally be affected by moisture-laden debris from a tropical storm or hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but it is highly unlikely for a full-fledged hurricane to make landfall in California. Climatologist Bill Patzert states that “the odds are infinitesimal, so small that everyone should relax”. Sea surface temperatures of around 80 degrees have been recorded around San Diego beaches, but this is an extremely rare occurrence.
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.Before the storm hit in 1939, there was no government forecast office in Los Angeles.
The average rainfall in Los Angeles in September is less than half an inch, even with occasional tropical cyclone precipitation. Yuma can experience more storms due to its location only 70 miles north of the warm Gulf of California bathtub where water temperatures can reach 90 degrees.A California hurricane is a tropical cyclone affecting the state of California and while it is not likely for a full-fledged hurricane to make landfall in California, it is possible for the remains of a tropical storm to affect the state. It is important for residents to stay informed and be prepared for any potential storms.