Change in the Weather: Heat Abates as Hurricane Kay Moves Into Santa Monica
Hurricane Kay was expected to bring 100 MPH winds into the mountains east of San Diego.
September 11, 2022
Rarely have I seen a turn in the weather so abrupt as this Friday afternoon. Suddenly, the 97 degree heat and humidity has persisted for 2 weeks in Santa Monica was just over. The palm trees started swaying in the wind. The clouds blocked the sun and rain started falling on the parched landscape.
Hurricane Kay was expected to bring 100 MPH winds into the mountains east of San Diego. On pricey Montana Avenue, people hurried to escape the coming storm.
While Kay has weakened to a tropical storm, it is still packing sustained winds. And it is enhancing winds through mountain terrain – similar to a Santa Ana wind event – to much stronger gusts, including a 109-mph blast Friday at Cuyamaca Peak in the San Diego Mountains, the National Weather Service reported.
As Kay’s rotating winds push warm, dry air from the east, much of Southern and Central California – already baking through a climate crisis-fueled heat wave – will stay under excessive heat warnings through 8 p.m. Friday. And concern is growing that erratic, strong winds will spread already-burning wildfires, including the Fairview Fire, which has killed two people and exploded in size this week, forcing evacuations as it’s burned more than 27,400 acres.
“With the really strong winds, we could continue to see the fires that are already burning continue to burn and spread before the rain actually gets here,” the National Weather Service in San Diego told CNN.
Rain from Kay has begun falling Friday in far Southern California, including San Diego, and far southwest Arizona, including Yuma, as flash flooding risks increase.
The weather service said in a 1:40 p.m. PT update heavy rain continued in the San Diego deserts and rain bands were pushing into Orange and Riverside counties.
While the rain is due by Saturday to quell the crushing heat – bringing relief to weary residents and power grid operators who’d prepped for rolling outages – it also could trigger debris flows, especially in places just ravaged by fire. A flash flood warning is in effect in southwestern Imperial County. And the weather service office in Flagstaff, Arizona, warned of life-threatening flash floods in Cococino County of “low-water crossings, creeks, normally dry washes and roads.” Grand Canyon National Park is included in the warning, the weather service said.
Flood watches cover more than 6 million people across Southern California, including Palm Springs, Riverside and Barstow; southern Nevada, including Las Vegas; and western Arizona, including Yuma, Lake Havasu City and Kingman.