An brief overview of last week’s Tropical Storm Odile

On Tuesday, September 16, Southern California experienced some very unusual weather. Tropical Storm Odile was several hundred miles south of San Diego, crossing the Baja California peninsula. The outer circulation of the storm produced southeasterly winds that made the San Diego area very hot and humid. Temperatures in the foothills and inland valleys exceeded 100 degrees. A shallow onshore breeze induced the intense heating converged with the southeasterly flow to produce intense convection and thunderstorms over the foothills. The thunderstorms were carried westward over coastal sections and virtually all of them became severe.
While the thunderstorms provided much needed rain and cooling, they were accompanied by damaging downburst winds that caused widespread damage. One severe thunderstorm moved over Montgomery Field Airport and damaged more than 20 planes, with 10 planes totaled. The winds went from 8 knots to about 56 knots in about one minute.

Where is Hurricane Odile headed?

Hurricane Odile is now weakening as it moves across the Baja on its eastern shores. Early Monday it made landfall with sustained winds of 115 mph, a category 3 hurricane. Waves up to 24 feet also accompanied the hurricane as it approached Los Cabos. Early reports indicate major damage to resort areas.

The next question is where does it go next? The National Hurricane Center indicates the hurricane will weaken to a tropical storm overnight (39 to 74 mph sustained winds), then to a tropical depression (winds under 39 mph) by Wednesday morning. See the graphic from the National Hurricane Center, below.

Even a weakening storm like this will have abundant rainfall. Rain totals of 6 to 12 inches with areas of 18 inches of rain are possible in the Baja the next several days.

The track will take the storm toward Arizona later in the week, so unfortunately look for a repeat of flash flooding in areas like Phoenix and Tucson as the tenants of Odile move their way.

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