Dear Tom,
I used to live in the Chicago area but have since located to the Los Angeles area. We never have hurricanes in southern California. Why?
Philip Norstrand, Torrance, California

Warm, humid air over tropical oceans provides the energy that drives hurricanes, and hurricane development requires ocean water temperatures of at least 80 degrees. Ocean temperatures off southern California rarely rise above the 60s—prohibitively cool for hurricanes. Hurricanes over the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean off the west Mexican coast diminish to windy rainstorms if they are steered as far north as California. On Sept. 25, 1939, a tropical cyclone made landfall near Los Angeles. Known as El Cordonazo, it brought heavy rain to Los Angeles and southern California. Los Angeles recorded 5.62 inches of rain.