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This weekend, a tropical storm hit severely drought-stricken areas across central and southern California, bringing more rain than the area has seen in months. As one of California’s hottest and driest years on record, this was certainly a good time for rain to come, but was it too much? Read on below to learn about just how much rain Tropical Storm Kay brought to California this weekend and how it’s affected the state.
One of the driest parts of the country
California is one of the driest parts of the country and has been affected by severe droughts all year. According to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), this year was California’s driest year on record since the system was created 128 years ago.
Severe droughts in California have affected over 37 million people there, and 58 California counties have been designated as disaster areas by the USDA. The drought has most seriously affected central California, especially Fresno, Modesto, and Bakersfield, but southern California has been abnormally dry as well.
Predictions for the storm
Early Friday, September 9th, the national weather service declared flash flood warnings across several parts of southern California, including Riverside County and northeastern San Diego County. Many weather reports predicted that the flooding could bring up to a month’s worth of rain to the area, especially given this year’s reduced precipitation numbers.
Residents in several areas of California were advised to temporarily evacuate their homes, just in case the tropical storm were to develop into a full-fledged hurricane.
The actual numbers
The area most affected by Tropical Storm Kay was Mount Laguna, which received a whopping five inches of rain on Friday. Other areas of San Diego county received up to four inches of rain, but the surrounding areas were hit much more gently. Several areas in Los Angeles received up to 0.2 inches of rain, a new daily record for the area.
This continues to be one of the hottest California summers on record. At the same time as the rain, several heat records were broken in central and southern California, including a record 102-degree heat in Los Angeles. The storm also caused power outages in areas across the state, affecting over 24,000 people. One major benefit of the rain, however, was that it helped firefighters in Fairview fight a fire that’s controlling over 28,000 acres of California forest.
Where else has Tropical Storm Kay struck?
Although Tropical Storm Kay has certainly brought plenty of heavy rain to California, it has affected other areas in even more extreme ways. The storm hit Mexico last Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane but weakened to a tropical storm later in the day.
The tropical storm has now weakened significantly and was last reported on Saturday to be about 250 miles southwest of San Diego. At the time of reporting, the winds had slowed down to roughly 40 miles per hour.