WTF: It's Hurricane Season on the West Coast?!

WTF: It's Hurricane Season on the West Coast?!
Stephen Carr/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

The weather just keeps on getting weirder in Southern California this year.

Yesterday we told you about our reverse spring, in which March was warmer than May. And over winter we saw some record heat.

Now, as June just arrived and the summer season hasn't officially begun (the first day of summer is June 21), forecasters are looking at one of the earliest-developing hurricane seasons in West Coast history. Possibly.

Tropical Storm Blanca is developing off the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico and could become the earliest "second named" hurricane since 1990, forecasters say.

That means, if it turns into a hurricane today, as expected, it could be the earliest second hurricane of a season since the administration of George H.W. Bush. That's because we already have a first hurricane of the season, Andres, which is spinning off the tip of Baja and generating waves that could hit our coast in a few days, National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Hall says.

Andres is pushing 140 mile-per-hour winds, says the NWS. Blanca's forecast 74 mph winds are expected to make it an official hurricane today.

Both, born in late May, are unusual, he said. Hurricane season for both American coasts usually produces its heaviest weather in late summer and early fall.

"This would be an early start," he said.

While the Pacific coast of Mexico is no stranger to hurricanes, it's also unusual when they climb into our own weather picture.

Hall says one computer model shows moisture from Blanca eventually hitting our region. But most of the weather service's models show that the precipitation would flow east of us, to the desert southwest.

However, we could get some waves as a result of both storms, Hall said.

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It is a bit early for tropical weather in Southern California. But remnants of such storms invading our region are not unheard of, he said. Similar fronts struck Long Beach in 1939 and San Diego in the 1800s, Hall said.

These days, forecasters believe that an early and strong tropical storm season in the Eastern Pacific can be a prelude to a full-on El Niño winter, which experts have already declared is coming to the West Coast.

WTF: It's Hurricane Season on the West Coast?!
National Weather Service

An El Niño winter could produce wet Pacific storms and help to shut down California's historic drought. But precipitation is not guaranteed.

Both the El Niño and the tropical storms need warm water to develop, and the Pacific has been unusually warm.

But the relatively warm waters off the L.A. coast last winter have leveled off and are now closer to normal, Hall said. Because of a northern ocean influence, our normal is pretty cold.

And, as those two hurricanes off Mexico head north, it's that cold water that will probably shut them down before they reach the border, Hall said.

"We will be keeping an eye on the potential for any remnant moisture and increased surf across Southwest California from these systems late in the week," the National Weather Service said in a statement. "Stay tuned!"

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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