The Monsoon Moisture – Tropical Storm Hector – And Why Southern California Weather Is Beautiful & Boring

/The Monsoon Moisture – Tropical Storm Hector – And Why Southern California Weather Is Beautiful & Boring

The Monsoon Moisture – Tropical Storm Hector – And Why Southern California Weather Is Beautiful & Boring

Good morning bloggers,

I will be leaving for Kauai, Hawaii tomorrow morning.  And, while I am there a potential hurricane will be heading west on a track that will most likely end up south of the Hawaiian Island chain.  Kauai is the farthest west island, and the mountains go just high enough, around 5,000 feet, that the orographic lifting (Mountain lifting) creates conditions for some of the wettest weather on earth.  The most precipitation in the United States and the world falls at Mt. Waialeale on Kauai in Hawaii. It rains an average of 460 inches a year on the tropical island mountain. The mountain peaks at just over 5,000 feet, which is just perfect for creating the conditions for these wet conditions. It is also perfect to create the conditions for too much rain, like what happened early this year, just a few months ago when 28″ of rain fell in less than 24 hours.  The post office on the north shore just opened this week, and now they have this threatening the island:


This map above shows the Hawaiian Island chain being threatened by a major hurricane within a week.  I will be on that farthest west island of Kauai, which is just north of the system as you can see here clearly.on our analysis there is about a 50% chance this system tracks south of the islands, and close to a 50% chance it tracks north of the islands.  Either way, it will be an interesting storm to watch and monitor, especially since I will be there.  Kauai is that farthest west island. The one where the volcanic eruptions have been ongoing is the farthest west and largest island.  Hawaii rarely takes direct hits from hurricanes.  In 1992, the same year that south Florida was devastated by CAT 5 Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Iniki blasted the island that I am going to, Kauai with 140 mph winds, and the condo that I am staying out was pretty much destroyed.  Iniki stayed over the warmer waters, that are located south of Hawaii, and then turned north right into Kauai.  Hopefully Hector doesn’t quite do that.  Let’s monitor this closely as it becomes a hurricane and tracks west.

I am in Southern California right now in my home town of Los Angeles.  The summer monsoon has been producing some spotty showers and thunderstorms the past few days.  These thunderstorms are most likely over the mountains due to what is called orographic lifting, or rising air caused by the mountains.  The thunderstorms also form over the deserts, but rarely over the populated areas of Southern California near the coast. Why?  Look at these next two pictures I snapped:



In areas near the Atlantic coast and Gulf coast, the water is warm and the humidity is high. This supports unstable air and thunderstorms form much easier. In Southern California, the Alaskan current flows south down the west coast with cool water being transported in from cool northeast Pacific Ocean.  This creates a stable lower layer and prevents the conditions favorable for thunderstorms.  The stable stratus clouds can be seen in both of these pictures, with the monsoon moisture above. The bright white cirrus cloud is actually an indication of the monsoon moisture.  Due to the strength of the upper level high height area, the thunderstorms have been spotty and weak over the mountains and deserts this week.

Rainfall Forecast: Next 15 Days


Look at the rainfall forecast above closely.  And, notice how 2 to 4 inches of rain are forecast just southeast of San Diego.  This is and example of why it was always so frustrating for me as a young child growing up in LA.  Or, actually I didn’t know any better, and I thought the thunderstorms over the mountains with anvils occasionally spreading out over the coastal sky was exciting.  Once every few years, the monsoon would be strong enough to break through and produce rare coastal rain and thunderstorms, but that stable Pacific Ocean caused cooler lower layers often messed it all up.

Kansas City Weather:

It looks like there are a few light sprinkles or showers early this morning. These will fall apart, and then it will heat up into the 90s the next few days. The drought continues to worsen in our local area, while other areas just to our west have been getting adequate moisture.  The next decent chance of thunderstorms may arrive early next week. Jeff will get you updated over the weekend.  I will check back in from Hawaii in a few days.

Have a great day, and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather 2020 and the cycling pattern. Go over to the Weather2020 blog and let’s share in this weather experience.


2018-08-05T10:28:08+00:00August 2nd, 2018|General|30 Comments


  1. Stl78(winon,mn) August 2, 2018 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Have a great trip Gary!! Up here in se MN we have begun to see a few trees beginning there slow transition to fall. Night time temps in the 50s has been nice!

  2. Snow Miser August 2, 2018 at 9:08 am - Reply

    The whole west coast is dry summer wet winter. The farther north you go, the longer and wetter the wet season is.

    With the raging fire in Redding, and the other horrible one last year in Sonoma County, and am appreciating the wet summers in the eastern US all the more.

  3. Real Humedude August 2, 2018 at 9:41 am - Reply

    California……… Traffic, congestion, fires, droughts, mudslides, tsunami, AND EARTHQUAKES? It may be beautiful but I wouldn’t live there if you paid me. 1000’s of homes have been destroyed there in the past few years by fire alone, you probably wouldn’t believe it but insurance will not cover those homes due to the enormous risk and yet people build there anyway. I’m supposed to feel sorry for them when they chose to live in an area that is prone to fire and mudslides? Avoidable tragedies are worst kind

    • Gary August 2, 2018 at 10:34 am - Reply

      I am from the San Fernando Valley, so I am a “Valley Boy”. It was somewhat crowded in the 1960s and 1970s while I was growing up, but now it is ridiculous. It can take 30 minutes to drive 3 miles. Some of the most exciting weather years ever happened here in Southern California, in 1978 and 1979, and I was just 16 years old, so very exciting weather patterns. Let’s hope one of those sets up next winter, as it would also likely benefit KC. Have a great day. I am hopeful for no Earthquakes before I leave for Hawaii in the morning.

    • KS Jones August 2, 2018 at 10:41 am - Reply

      California is a huge state with a lot of diversity in climate & geology, so you shouldn’t make general statements like that. It has the lowest point in the US (Death Valley); the highest point in the lower 48 (Mt Whitney), as well as the oldest living things (bristle cone pines). There’s a whole stretch of coastal California from Los Osos to San Simeon that is purely rural, pristine with natural beauty that is far less sullied by human activity than eastern Kansas. The air is clean and cool as it blows in off of the Pacific, and the marine layer creates natural air conditioning during the summer. I loved living there. I also lived on the east slope of the Sierras and it is equally stunning and pristine.

      • Richard August 2, 2018 at 10:58 am - Reply

        KS Jones
        That post right there makes me want to go see everything you described !
        I have only visited in Barstow for a week, and then Big Bear for a day.
        Big Bear was beautiful.

      • REAL HUMEDUDE August 2, 2018 at 11:02 am - Reply

        It is indeed vast and diverse, but wherever you go in CA a hazard will follow you. I guess it’s the price you pay for the raw beauty. Yosemite and the giant Sequoia forest might be my favorite places on earth, but you wont find me building a home where insurance won’t cover it.

  4. Three7 August 2, 2018 at 9:42 am - Reply


  5. Jeff August 2, 2018 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Gary. I grew up around Redondo Beach and Hermosa beach. I remember being scared of thunder and lightning because it was rare enough that I never got used to it as a kid.

  6. Kurt August 2, 2018 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Off topic, but really, you can’t possible tell me that areas around the airport that are only down 3 to 4 inches YTD are in the same severe drought category as here in St. Joseph, that is down over 11 inches YTD and 21 plus inches down in the last two years? I am sorry, but that drought monitor is a close depiction; but there we are much closer to extreme drought here vs KCI.

  7. LYITC41 August 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I was stationed in San Diego and remember the cool, cloudy sometimes foggy mornings. The fog and clouds would burn off before noon leading to bright sunny days. Sometimes the fog would roll back in before sunset. Out to sea just off the coast it’s almost perpetually cloudy and cool/cold. Pretty boring by our KS/MO standards.

  8. Tdogg August 2, 2018 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    There is no drought. Terry’s yard has green grass.

  9. Mike August 2, 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Latest update on hurricane. “”

  10. Nick August 3, 2018 at 12:12 am - Reply

    I was in LA once in 2014, it was def. an interesting experience, the weather was really nice, cloudy in the morning, then it would be sunny with the natural A/C breeze coming in off of the ocean in the afternoons, the traffic is just crazy and I am glad that I don’t drive, good times though, listening to the navigation device pronounce LAX as “lax”( the hotel was near the airport so we heard “lax” alot, lol)

  11. Richard August 3, 2018 at 9:41 am - Reply

    NWS :
    ” We’ve made it through the hottest time of the year, climatologically speaking.”

    • Adam August 3, 2018 at 10:40 am - Reply

      I hope so.

  12. Richard August 3, 2018 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Anyone seeing the heat backing off for KC midweek, then coming back next weekend ?

    Thats what Heady says for Joplin in his blog today.

  13. Anonymous August 3, 2018 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Mower Mike still says no drought. All stations reporting surplus rains.

  14. Kurt August 3, 2018 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Richard, the NWS has highs in the low 90’s starting on Thursday next week, not sure how intense the heat is; but this front doesn’t look impactful at this time. Also, our forecast in St. Joseph has no rain in the forecast; maybe they are finally on board with when in drought leave it out.

    Also saw a news story that farmers are comparing the severity of the drought to 1980 in terms of dryness. This drought is worse than 2012, maybe not with the intense heat of either 1980 or 2012; but I think we are in the process of losing alot of trees up here.

    • REAL HUMEDUDE August 3, 2018 at 11:33 am - Reply

      When old timers around Hume talk drought, 1980 is always first and foremost the worst they Rememeber. Apparently we didn’t have signoficant rain from April until the following spring. Everything was white from dust, ponds dried up completely and people had to sell all their livestock off. Only because we had a strip pit that didn’t dry up were we able to keep our herd, I hope to never see suck conditions. Droughts can be Devestating

      • Kurt August 3, 2018 at 12:40 pm - Reply

        lots of area ponds are drying up, deer are out in force looking for water. With the dry year we had last year, this is really becoming a serious problem up here. Corn appears to be close to going totally brown too in the next week; even heard that some of the corn was shattering when farmers were trying to cut it for silage.

        • REAL HUMEDUDE August 3, 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

          I’ve Def heard of beans shattering when very dry, hasn’t heard that term with corn. You guys are no doubt terribly dry, possibly more of a D4 extreme condition really. To have your area in same classification as metro is woefully inaccurate

        • KS Jones August 3, 2018 at 3:33 pm - Reply

          The 2012 drought had a serious effect on deer populations in Kansas and Missouri, because stagnant water contained midges carrying EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) and blue tongue.
          On another note — a survey by the Missouri Farm Bureau conducted in the first 2 weeks of July showed a 43% reduction in “quality & quantity” of hay, and 86% of the cattlemen in northwest Missouri said they will have to buy hay to carry them through to spring. Only 13% said they will be able to purchase hay locally where prices have jumped 130%, and 62% said they might have to reduce their herds by 20%.
          An additional concern is that hay purchased or donated from unknown sources could be contaminated by Old World bluestem, Bermudagrass, thistles, field bindweed, tumbleweed and Kochia.

          • REAL HUMEDUDE August 3, 2018 at 4:27 pm - Reply

            I lost alotta deer in 2012. I found 2 floating in my pit, and several more carcasses near the remaining water holes in the creek. Keep finding bones and bodies for about a year after. I bet we lost 30% of the herd , they’ve just now gotten population back to normal although deer never got truely scarce.

            • KS Jones August 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm - Reply

              Wildlife officials say deer spend their lives in a one-square mile area, but I know the ones around here have a range at least twice or triple that size. The 2012 drought killed several deer a short distance outside of this area, but not here, and I suspect it was because our spring-fed stream provided fresh water all through that drought.
              I took a hike along our stream this afternoon to check the water supply, and found the stream soaks away at the same spot it did during the droughts of 2012 and 2002, which leaves us with a half-mile of fresh water that flows through long pools and short riffles.

              • REAL HUMEDUDE August 3, 2018 at 7:34 pm

                I’d kill for a spring like that!
                We have a few small ones here and there that run well in wet times but once it’s dry like this they harldy produce a trickle that finds it way down to the creek but can only sustain a Single small pool.

  15. Richard August 3, 2018 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    Radar showing a line stretching from NM to Duluth MN. Covers a lot of territory.
    Would love to get in on that.
    Royals playing at the Twins. No doubt rain delay coming.

    • Snow Miser August 3, 2018 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      I think maybe it’ll hold together and reach KC, because I watered my backyard today.

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