On this day in 1976, the weakened Hurricane Kathleen hit Ocotillo, CA. Lest anyone be confused, a Pacific hurricane is not the same as an Atlantic hurricane. Pacific "hurricanes" are cyclones but nevertheless named as hurricanes and make up the Pacific Hurricane Season as opposed to Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Kathleen was the first tropical cyclone to hit Southern California since 1939. There was over $160 million in damages and five people died. A wall of water left a 700 feet wide, 40 feet deep gap at the Myer Creek Bridge on I-8. The 4 to 6 feet high wall of water destroyed 70% of the homes in Ocotillo, CA, about 90 miles east of San Diego.If this weather phenomenon occurred today, I'm sure someone would attempt to attribute it to global warming. Yet, in 1976 the experts were concerned about the coming ice age.
Hurricane Kathleen track
Some history on California tropical storms from USA Today.
Destructive Storm Hits the Desert
[O]ne of these rare instances was in September of 1976. On September 7th, a tropical storm formed off the coast of Baja California, which is not unusual in the least. Several hurricanes and tropical storms form in this area every year without affecting land. Many of these head north until they reach cooler water where they dissapate. However, this storm formed very quickly and moved swiftly up the coast until it reached the midpoint of Baja. There, it turned into a hurricane and made landfall, causing it to lose strength and turn into a tropical storm. However, this storm moved so fast over land to the north that it did not disspate enough to spare the Yuha and Colorado desert areas of tropical storm strength wind and rain. Yuma recorded a sustained wind of 57 mph.
Ten to eleven inches of rain hit the mountains of Southern California on the 10th and 11th. Even half of this amount is as much rain as the desert receives on an average year. The desert floor around Ocotillo and I-8 turned into a large inland sea. The freeway was destroyed and the most of Ocotillo was destroyed and three people drowned. San Diego's major highway to the east was gone. The Southern Pacific Railroad lost over a million dollars in railway (you can see an overturned tressel in the Plaster City area to this day). The storm wasn't quite through, though. It continued north across the Mojave and Sonoran deserts until it died over the high deserts of Nevada.
Link to map of Ocotillo, CA
On the Atlantic Hurricane Season front, an article in Bloomberg News reports that hurricane researchers have flubbed their predictions for two straight years.
Hurricane researchers, who forecast seven more storms this season, have flubbed the past two annual estimates because of unusual El Nino and La Nina weather phenomena in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.For the global warming alarmists: Earth is cooling.
The predictions reflect variables that make this kind of weather forecasting ``more art than science,'' said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Two of the nine Atlantic hurricanes predicted already have occurred for the season that ends Nov 30. Last year, five storms emerged after nine were anticipated.