Hurricane Linda rumbles off S. California coast
Region braces for harsh weather
September 14, 1997
Web posted at: 11:59 a.m. EDT (1559 GMT)
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Southern California on Sunday braced for
heavy rain, high winds and pounding waves generated by
Hurricane Linda, the strongest hurricane on record for the
Winds that had gusted up to 220 mph (354 kph) off the coast
of Mexico on Friday decreased to 105 mph (174 kph) by Sunday
as it moved across cooler waters. The storm was expected to
meander off the coast over the next few days.
But officials predicted the storm would wreak havoc across
the region, even if it never makes landfall.
The government of Mexico issued a coastal flood warning,
saying high tides from the hurricane could devastate beaches
At Zuma Beach, California, lifeguards were receiving reports
that swells could reach 15 feet (4.6 meters).
"We've got extra people on call, we're moving sand around,
making sure storm drains are clear," lifeguard Bill
Firefighters, toiling with a ferocious blaze in San
Bernardino National Forest, were preparing for floods and
Storm expected to weaken further
As of 11 a.m. EDT, the storm was about
760 miles (1,216 km) south of San Diego.
It was churning toward Southern California at about 13 mph
(20 kph), but early Sunday it made a slight turn toward the
west, the National Hurricane Center reported.
If it stays on its current route, the center of the hurricane
should remain about 200 miles (320 km) off the
California coast, said Jay Stockton, a forecaster for the
National Weather Service.
In San Diego, U.S. Navy officials were tracking Linda's
progress and making sure piers and ships were clear of loose
gear that could blow or wash away, said Chief Brent Johnston
of Naval Base San Diego.
The hurricane, which gets its strength from warm tropical
waters, was expected to weaken as it moved into colder
northwest seas. But officials said it would be a gradual
weakening because waters in the area are warmer than usual
because of the weather condition known as El Niño.
Scientists say El Niño is a natural weather cycle that
disrupts ocean and atmospheric temperatures in the
tropical Pacific. El Niño occurs every three to five years
and can last up to 12 months.
Ocean water temperatures already have risen 5 to 10 degrees
in some areas this year.