Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hurricane Kathleen (1976)

Hurricane Katlheen (1976)
Hurricane Kathleen was a tropical cyclone of the 1976 Pacific hurricane season. Though rather weak, only a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, it was very destructive. Kathleen caused widespread flooding and damage in northern Mexico and parts of the southwestern United States causing $610 million in damage. It also took an unusual path.
Meteorological history
A tropical depression formed on September 7. Twelve hours later it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Kathleen. After spending the past day moving slowly, it started accelerating northwards. On September 9, it reached hurricane status and brushed a promontory on the Pacific coast of the Baja California. Kathleen was a hurricane for only six hours, and was a tropical storm, with 50 mph winds, when it made landfall in California on September 10. With its circulation intact and still a tropical storm, it moved inland.

Upon making landfall, Kathleen immediately was downgraded to a tropical depression Tropical Depression Kathleen dissipated on September 11 while over central Nevada as it continued accelerating. Residual moisture from the hurricane hung around over the southwestern United States.[1]
In Arizona on September 10 and September 11, gales caused considerable damage in Yuma. For a time, the sustained winds exceeded 50 mph, with gusts up to 76 mph. Rains caused severe flash-flooding in Mohave County. One man was killed when the wind blew a palm tree onto his mobile home.[1]Residual moisture brings more severe thunderstorms to the state on September 24 and 25. The Tucson area is particularly hard hit with flash flooding and hail as large as golf balls. Hail covers the ground to a depth of 5 inches on Mount Lemmon It killed a man when a gust of wind blew a palm tree down onto his mobile home. Severe flooding and hailstorms also resulted.[2]While most of the rainfall from the storm fell in California,[3] 2.87 in (73 mm) fell at the Davis Dam on the Colorado River.[4]

California received record rainfall, with 14.76 inches falling on the southern slopes of Mt. San Gorgonio, and 10.13 inches accumulated on Mount Laguna.[5] Flooding caused catastrophic destruction to Ocotillo. Because Ocotillo is situated atop an alluvial fan, the path of the raging floodwaters was wide and changing, with over half of the town being totally destroyed. The waters piled a layer of sand that was over 3 meters high in some places.[2] Three to six people drowned in the mud and waters in that city.[3] Other parts of Imperial County and Riverside County experienced severe flash flooding.[4]

Six to 12 inches of rainfall was observed in the central and southern mountains of southern California on September 10 and September 11.

Flooding disrupted transportation routes in the county. Part of Interstate 8 along the San Diego and Imperial County border was washed out. [5] Three trestles belonging to the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway were destroyed, and five others were damaged. At more than 50 other locations, tracks were buried by mudslides or had the ground under them washed away. After assessing the damage from Kathleen, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company decided in 1977 to abandon most of the SD&AE railway, but in 1978 the Interstate Commerce Commission disallowed this plan and the railway was restored.[6]

Homeowners in Palm Desert received considerable damage from the storm. Many flood control structures throughout the area failed to work.[7] The control structures in the area were rebuilt, and they withstood the next series of flash floods caused by Hurricane Doreen's remnants in 1977.[8]

Kathleen highest rainfall was 14.76 inches in Mt. San Gorgonio.[6] Agriculture was disrupted throughout the area. The area covered by the Salton Sea increased.

In Wyoming, the cyclone is credited with the first known sighting of a White Ibis in the state's history.[7] In Montana, Kathleen dropped locally heavy rainfall approaching 2 inches (51 mm) in localized spots.[8] In Oregon, heavy rain was reported, enough to cause flooding and became the wettest in State's history.


Parts of California were declared disaster area.[11] Damage estimates ranged from 40 to 160 million dollars.[12] For, Unknown reasons Kathleen was not retired but the Post 1977 name change prevented further uses for Kathleen
This is copied from Hurricane Kathleen (1976)

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