“Hurricanes in Australia were originally named after local politicians that the weather man did not like.”
~ Quotes about politicians from jarOfQuotes.com
Every four years in the fall we elect a new president. Is it any real coincidence hurricane season peaks then also? Be it the unruly and unpredictable weather or the unruly and unpredictable candidates, we try to make good decisions to assure the best outcome. Might an Australian weatherperson name a hurricane Hillary or Donald?
Hurricane Matthew hit southeastern U.S., the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti last weekend, leaving death and devastation in its path. The storm’s death toll in the United States, as of Tuesday, reached 26 people. Haiti, which took a direct hit, has claimed at least 1,000 deaths; with many citizens still missing, that number could rise. With flood waters still rising and damage being assessed, maybe our focus should shift from political issues to more humanitarian ones.
Here on the west coast, we are mostly spared from hurricanes. Hurricane, tropical cyclone and typhoon are all names for the same weather phenomenon. In California “tropical cyclone” is the accurate name. Here’s the deal …
Our climate/weather conditions are not conducive to the formation and sustainability of a tropical cyclone. The perfect recipe needs the correct ingredients, as do hurricanes/typhoons. These must include a warm (over 80 degrees Fahrenheit) water source and a constant wind pattern to carry the storms onshore. The U.S. West Coast provides neither. Waters, due to the California current, rarely rise above 70 degrees as they flow southward out of British Columbia. Also in the Northern Hemisphere storms tend to move toward the west-north, preventing landfall along the west coast.
An exception and rare event occurred in September 1939. A strong El Niño condition was present and a tropical cyclone slammed our coastline. Approximately 100 deaths were reported, including some at sea. The rain and subsequent flooding were mostly blamed, not the wind. Mt. Wilson recorded 11.60 inches of rain in a three-hour period. The L.A. River became a raging torrent. Streets were under two-to-three feet of water. In response, by February 1940, the Weather Bureau established a forecast office for Southern California.
A nice storm has developed in the northwest, but rain is not expected south of Pt. Conception. Few clouds and mild temperatures amid gusty winds make for lovely autumn weather … in our “neck of the woods.”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.