Southern California’s prolonged heat wave is finally on the wane, replaced by a tropical storm that is bringing heavy rains and strong winds to the region along with fears of potentially dangerous conditions in recent burn areas.
As the nearly two-week-long heat wave draws to a close, high winds and possible flash flooding are in the forecast this weekend as a weakening hurricane approaches the California coast, according to the National Weather Service.
There was a higher than 50% chance of precipitation throughout the county Saturday. Downtown Riverside reached a high of 89 degrees on Saturday, Hemet reached 88, and Palm Springs reached 87.
The NWS posted a flash flood watch for Riverside County mountains, the Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass that will continue through midnight Saturday.
The NWS said Hurricane Kay weakened to a tropical depression Friday, but the cyclonic activity will generate instability throughout the region.
“The impacts here will include strong east winds, which will be enhanced by the mountains,” the NWS said. “Wind gusts over 70 mph (are) likely in parts of San Diego County, especially the mountains Friday, and across … Riverside and possibly Orange County Saturday.”
Forecasters warned that thunderstorms are possible, and rainfall could be in the “2-4 inch range from the mountains east into the deserts.”
“Heavy rain is most likely late Friday night through Saturday, but lingering moisture, especially if Kay remains nearby, could bring more rain Sunday,” the NWS stated.