MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We view the coverage of significant hurricanes in the Atlantic year after year. However we seldom hear about significant hurricanes in the eastern Pacific.

You are watching: Has a hurricane ever hit los angeles

Hurricanes in the Atlantic versus hurricanes in the Pacific are similar in every way, shape and also form, but Pacific hurricanes do the news much less often and do less damages than their Atlantic counterparts. Additionally, Pacific Hurricanes nearly never struggle the unified States. Why?

There are numerous factors that must play the end in order because that a hurricane to occur. In short, wind direction and cold water are the key reasons hurricanes aren’t as common on the West Coast.

By the moment these solution travel far sufficient to the north to lug their linked moisture to the joined States, the dry cyclones have usually diminished below tropical storm stamin over Mexico or over the colder waters the the California existing that flows southward along the California coast. Rain, sometimes locally excessive, can be watched in many locations of the southwestern joined States as soon as tropical cyclone remnants get in the region.

The conditions guiding the advance and movement of these storms influence whether, and where, they fight land.

Two factors define why hurricanes very rarely form and come close to land ~ above the west coast.

First, hurricanes in the northern hemisphere move east to west, definition storms that type in the Atlantic head directly for the American mainland, whereas in Pacific generally move far from land and also out come sea.


Secondly, hurricanes need heat water come form. Water temperature in the Atlantic s average about 80 degrees since of the warm air indigenous the Gulf Stream. In the Pacific Ocean, castle average around 60 degrees, despite slightly warmer water near Hawaii would explain why the state watch the sometimes hurricane. The warmer the water, the far better chance the storm i do not care a solid hurricane.

California lacks this warmer waters and also is typically under 75 degrees, even roughly 60 degrees in the top northwest.

California’s median temperatures throughout hurricane season are in between 60 to 72 degrees over open water.


Blue and green colors indicate cooler waters (<60°F>) when orange and red colors, outlined through the black curves, suggest warmer waters (at the very least ~80°F>).(Space Science and Engineering Center, university of Wisconsin-Madison)

There have even been tape-recorded sea surface ar temperatures approximately 80 degrees near san Diego’s beaches, but it is exceedingly rare. The just actual hurricane to acquire close to California to be the 1858 san Diego Hurricane, but the still disputed over even if it is it really made landfall.

The only well-known system come truly make landfall was the 1939 long beach dry storm. The was formerly a hurricane that formed off main America and also made a rare shift from a west movement to an eastern movement before making landfall on mountain Pedro.

Three other cyclones have lugged tropical storm force winds to the southwestern joined States during the twenty century:

Hurricane joanne on 6 October 1972 in ArizonaHurricane catalen on 10 September 1976 in California and ArizonaHurricane Nora in September 1997 in Arizona.

See more: Have Gun Will Travel Science From An Easy Chair, Album Review: Have Gun, Will Travel

Only the 1939 tropic storm do a direct landfall in coastal California, because the various other three systems gotten in the United states after very first making landfall in Mexico.