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Hurricane Kay closest to a cyclone in Southern California in 25 years

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Western states sweltering under an intense heat wave could soon experience heavy rain and flooding after Hurricane Kay made landfall as a tropical storm on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula on Thursday, forecasters said.

Kay made landfall near the center of the roughly 760-mile peninsula off the Pacific coast of Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, heavy rainfall and strong storm surge, the National Hurricane Center said.

On Thursday night, the storm was 370 south-southeast of San Diego and tropical storm warnings were in effect over much of the peninsula’s east and west coasts, the center said.

Kay is not expected to hit the mainland US directly, but wind is predicted to come, heavy rainfall and flash floods to California and Arizona starting Friday.

Tropical cyclones that hit Southern California are very uncommon. The most recent was Hurricane Nora in 1997, which moved like a tropical storm across southeastern California, causing power outages in Los Angeles and flooding in San Diego.

Kay is expected to drop 2 to 4 inches of rain in Southern California and 1 to 2 inches in southwestern Arizona — and the deluge could last through Sunday. Southern California could also see “flaky, strong easterly winds,” the The National Weather Service’s office in San Diego said.

Kay is also expected to create northward-moving swells along the coast of Baja California, which could affect the Gulf of California and Southern California “in the coming days,” the NHC said.

Parts of California and Arizona have reported record temperatures this month, which have put a strain on infrastructure and prompted officials to ask residents to conserve electricity.

On Thursday, 41 million people in the West remained under heat warnings during the 10th day of dangerous heat in the region.

The hurricane’s rain is likely to break another record: average monthly rainfall.

In Los Angeles, the average rainfall for the month of September is 0.13 inches and in San Diego it is 0.12 inches. In those cities, 10 to 20 times as much rain could fall in one weekend.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Earl is spinning near Bermuda, with tropical storm conditions expected to begin for the island Thursday afternoon, the NHC said:. Significant swells and rip currents are expected to reach the US East Coast later on Thursday.

Tim Stelloh contributed.


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