Photo Credit: Gregory Bull/AP
In the southern region of California, a tropical storm is destroying both life and property. On Friday, strong gusts and heavy rain raised the possibility of flooding and downed power lines. On the other side, after a heat wave, the afflicted areas were relieved of the extreme temperatures they had experienced for more than 10 days.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Kay reportedly made landfall in the state of Baja California Sur last Thursday. Fortunately, the storm began to weaken as soon as it made landfall. However, the hurricane had winds of around 109 mph (175 kph).
The Fairview fire, which is located 121 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles, has caused anxiety among firefighters who fear that the hurricane that will be striking Southern California will produce strong winds that might exacerbate the fire. However, the crew managed to limit the fire and stated that by Monday, they would have it completely under control. The fire damaged almost 10,000 homes and other buildings, and thousands of people are currently housed in evacuation camps.
After the region experienced a heat wave that caused temperatures to rise to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius, the hurricane struck at a favorable time. Unfortunately, the oppressive heat affected San Diego as well. Fortunately, the cyclone arrived and gave the locals some short-term reprieve from the heat.
“The heat was killer, so for now, this feels good. I just hope the water doesn’t get too high. But I will rough it. I’ve got pallets I can put underneath to keep out the rain.”
However, despite the respite that the rain provided, locals are aware of the risks associated with prolonged periods of severe rain. For instance, a twin-engine aircraft landing at the Naval Air Station North Island in Colorado drifted beyond the runway. The two pilots on board had to be brought to the hospital for observation since the plane was damaged.
While there was a risk of significant downpours over the weekend, several areas of Southern California had just modest rainfall. According to the authorities, if the rains continue, there is a strong likelihood of flooding. If the water level rises to the usual level, it has been warned that coastal villages and homes in low-lying regions should be on the lookout for potential evacuation plans.
The heat and the storm
California and other Western states saw the warmest September on record. The region had the longest heat waves on record. As a result, the phenomena stressed energy systems and raised costs. Severe heat advisories and warnings were issued this week for a number of areas that are home to more than 54 million people.
The state capital of California, Sacramento, saw its hottest temperature last Tuesday, reaching 116 degrees Fahrenheit or 46.7 degrees Celsius. As temperatures rose as high as 41.6 degrees Celsius or 107 degrees Fahrenheit, Salt Lake City likewise crossed the 40-degree Celsius mark.
Other infrastructures are affected
Power grids, in particular, have suffered damage due to the severe heat and rain throughout numerous regions. To combat the oppressive heat outside, businesses and families must boost the capacity of their air conditioning systems as the temperature rises. As a result, there was an increase in power demand and consumption, which caused blackouts since the power networks could not keep up.
According to experts, Western countries have gotten warmer and drier in just thirty years as a result of climate change. The situation just increases the potential for wildfires to be more fierce and catastrophic. In fact, California had the most destructive wildfire in only five years in its history.
For example, the Mosquito Fire in eastern Sacramento has more than doubled in size, encompassing 46 square miles (119 square kilometers) of land and threatening more than 3,600 residences in El Dorado and Placer counties.