Areas of Southern California are bracing for strong winds, heavy rain, and the likelihood of flooding associated with Tropical Storm Kay.
The eye of Kay came ashore as a hurricane near Mexico’s Bahia Asuncion in Baja California Sur state Thursday afternoon, but by Friday it was a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph).
Kay was located about 195 miles (315 kilometers) south-southeast of San Diego, California and was moving north-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph). But the storm was expected to start a turn to the west that would take it further out into the Pacific.
Meteorologists believe the storm will create widespread flooding in California, Northern Baja California, and Arizona. The National Hurricane Service is predicting the storm will dump “several months to a year’s worth of rain to a normally arid landscape” on Friday in Southern California.
The Center said “flash, urban, and small stream flooding is likely across Southern California beginning today, especially in and near the peninsular ranges. Flash, urban, and small stream flooding is possible beginning later today in Southwest Arizona.”
Long Beach is preparing for high tides and possible high swells by fortifying the berms in the Peninsula.
“The tide has peaked and the berm at the Peninsula has eroded significantly,” the city’s fire department said Thursday evening.
Sandbags are available in the parking lot at 72nd Place.
The National Weather Service also issued a Coastal Flood Advisory and High Surf Advisory for Catalina and the Santa Barbara Islands where 5 to 9-foot waves were expected along with dangerous rip currents.
Ivory Small, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego, said the storm was expected to affect the San Diego County area with somewhat less strength than a tropical storm. While the eye would remain well offshore, he said winds would be comparable to a moderate Santa Ana and could be strong enough to down tree branches.
Around an inch of rain was forecast for the coast and upwards of four inches in the mountains, “which is a lot of rain for September,” he said. The storm could also begin lowering temperatures around San Diego, which has been under an excessive heat warning.
The last time a hurricane or tropical storm came close to Southern California was Nora in 1997, which entered the U.S. as a tropical storm near Yuma, Ariz., and also brought about an inch of rain to the San Diego area, Small said.
In 2015, remnants of Hurricane Dolores broke rainfall records in San Diego and Los Angeles.
The state government of Baja California Sur said more than 1,600 people had evacuated to shelters before Kay hit. It said some creeks had risen and closed some roads. Landslides reportedly cut some roadways on the peninsula, but there were no reports of injuries.