Why Are West Coast Hurricanes Unusual?

A tropical storm is a large rotating storm that forms over the ocean. When the wind speeds reach 119 km/h (74 mph) or above, it becomes a hurricane.

In August, Tropical Storm Hilary hit California. It caused mudslides and flooding. Hilary was the first tropical storm to hit this part of the United States since 1997.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are common on the east coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico. In this area, the water is warm. Tropical storms get their energy from warm water. Sometimes hurricanes move over land. Because of this, people in these areas are always prepared for hurricanes.

These storms are unusual on the west coast. The water there is colder. But this summer, the water was warmer than usual. There was more energy available. Tropical Storm Hilary formed. It strengthened into a hurricane. Winds steered the storm toward California. As it reached colder water, it lost energy. When it hit California, it was a tropical storm. It still caused major damage in the area.

Tropical storm Hilary was unusual, but it could happen again. Will people be prepared?

What Can You Do? What can you do to prepare for a hurricane?

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