A California hurricane is a tropical cyclone that affects the state of California. Typically, only the remnants of these storms reach the state, and since 1900, only two still-tropical storms have made landfall in California. Southern California has only been hit by an intact hurricane once in recorded history.On October 2, 1858, a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds approached San Diego. This is the only hurricane to have ever hit California, and the reason for this is that hurricanes lose their energy as they move to colder waters.
The water off the coast of California comes from Alaska and is very cold.However, Southern California has experienced heavy remnants of hurricanes that have lost their energy as they moved north. There are many factors that need to be considered for a hurricane to occur in California, but wind direction and cold water are the main reasons why we don't see hurricanes in the state.In the Pacific Ocean, waters average 60 degrees Fahrenheit, although slightly warmer water near Hawaii would explain why that state sees an occasional hurricane. Along the East Coast, the Gulf Stream provides a source of warm water (above 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 26.5 degrees Celsius), helping to maintain the hurricane. However, once the hurricane heads north of Cabo San Lucas, it encounters much colder ocean waters.In the North Atlantic Ocean during peak hurricane season, these warm ocean waters are found in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean waters along the U.
S. East Coast. In recorded history, hurricanes have impacted every state in the Atlantic and Gulf, from Texas to Florida, including Maine and Canada.These storms are called hurricanes when they occur in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Northeast Pacific. If conditions are right, a Cat 4 or 5 storm could move very quickly over unusually warm waters further north and it's not entirely out of scope for Southern California to be hit by another strong tropical storm, or even a weak Cat 1 hurricane.Hurricanes form in the Pacific Ocean just like in the Atlantic, but none of these storms seem to reach the continental U.
There is certainly more real estate in the Atlantic for hurricanes to thrive, with a larger water strip above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.The national hurricane center even sets its prediction for the number of hurricanes expected before the season starts. In an average year, there are 6 hurricanes, and it's not uncommon for one or more of these hurricanes to make landfall in a Gulf Coast or East Coast state.Meanwhile, over the Pacific Ocean, this east-west flow tends to direct most hurricanes into the open ocean, away from the continent. During peak hurricane season from mid-August to late October, California's warmest waters are about 75 degrees on the beaches of San Diego.