On Wednesday (August 15), federal forecasters stated that it is highly probable that a hurricane might emerge off the west coast of Mexico this week and move exceptionally far up Baja California, carrying heat, rain, and high winds to Southern California, particularly San Diego County. This would be the first hurricane to form off the west coast of Mexico since Hurricane Wilma back in 2005. The fact that the system looks to be comparable to Kay, which in September 2022 delivered rain, heat, and waves to Southern California, is one of the most unusual things about it.
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In the late summer, it is not uncommon for there to be tropical storms and hurricanes off the coast of Mexico’s west side. On the other hand, the seas there are not normally warm enough to keep such systems going when they track to the northwest. In most cases, the winds prevent them from traveling directly from Baja California into Southern California.
While this does have the potential to be a very high-impact event for at least portions of southern California for Sunday into Monday, this system has yet to develop, with changes in the details of model guidance to be expected, stated the National Weather Service.
To recall the last tragic event, on September 9, 2022, Kay arrived within 150 miles of San Diego County, which caused heat records to be broken throughout Southern California and sent precipitation to the San Diego mountains as well as other locations. In addition, Kay generated some ferocious waves.
A brief period of time back in September 1997 saw forecasters speculate that the leftovers of Hurricane Linda might strike the counties of San Diego and Orange. On the other hand, the storm never even reached that far north. On October 2, 1858, there was a tropical storm that brought gusts strong enough to be classified as hurricanes to San Diego.