Floods and high winds likely in Southern California as Tropical Storm Kay passes offshore


Flooding and high winds expected in parts of Southern California Friday night Tropical Storm Kay looms offshore.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm’s center was about 130 miles southwest of San Diego at 5 p.m. It still primarily affected the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. Kay made landfall in Mexico Thursday afternoon, making landfall near central Baja California with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, as well as heavy rain and a powerful storm surge.

Kay’s maximum sustained wind now hovers around 40 mph, and it traveled northwest at 12 mph. A westerly bend was expected on Saturday, which would bring further inland.

Winds and moisture from the storm are moving to parts of Southern California and southwestern Arizona. The heaviest rain is expected to fall east of San Diego, in desert areas. Precipitation of 10cm was recorded in the mountain areas on Friday, with more could fall on Saturday morning, forecasters said.

Some isolated areas can reach up to 8 inches.

Kay helped set rain records for the date in San Diego County, including more than six-tenths of an inch measured in Campo, near the US-Mexico border, and at San Diego International Airport; two inches were recorded at Lake Cuyamaca in the wilderness east of the city.

The National Weather Service had issued flash flood warnings for parts of neighboring Imperial County until mid-afternoon. The New River, which flows through the county and across the US-Mexico border, is said to overflow. Flood watches continue until tomorrow for 8 million people in Southern California, Western Arizona and Southern Nevada.

Flood warnings were in effect Friday night for the Coachella Valley desert in San Diego County’s Borrego Springs. The San Diego River swelled Friday, immediately bringing images of a green, lush waterway through a city known for its arid climate.

Kay kicked up waves, with sets of four to six feet expected and some eight feet of waves possible through Saturday, federal forecasters said. However, the swell direction was extreme, given the position of the cyclone. The National Weather Service said waves would arrive from 180 degrees — dead south.

The wet weather has been an ally of firefighters, who said rainfall is slowing the spread of fatalities Fairview Fire in Riverside County, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fire Friday night was measured on more than 27,000 acres with 5% surrounded, Calfire said.

A high winds warning was in effect until midnight in San Diego County and parts of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Parts of those regions can see wind gusts up to 65 mph. A wind gust of 109 mph was clocked at Cuyamaca Peak in eastern San Diego County early Friday NBC San Diego.

Tropical cyclones that hit Southern California directly are rare, as they often die amid the relatively cold waters and strong land winds of the Pacific Ocean. But thunderstorm activity combined with humidity, sometimes described by the Spanish word chubascosis a September rite in San Diego and Imperial County.

In Mexico, meanwhile, ongoing coastal flooding, flash flooding and landslides are possible in Baja California and parts of mainland northwest Mexico through Saturday morning. In total, by the time the storm passes, the peninsula could see up to 10 inches of rain, with isolated areas up to 6 inches (15 cm).

Tropical storm warnings are still in effect along both coasts of the Baja Peninsula. On the western side, the warning zone extends from Punta Eugenia in the north to the US-Mexico border. In the Gulf of California, the warning hits the coast between Bahia de Los Angeles on the peninsula and Puerto Libertad on mainland Mexico.

Liza Torres, Marlene Lenthang, Kathryn Procivi, Steve Strouss and Dennis Romero contributed.

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