Inland Empire residents have been enveloped in a sticky and humid heatwave that has been lingering for the better part of the last several weeks.
The beginning of the summer was relatively mild and most residents didn’t need to turn on their air conditioners.
“I am afraid to look at our upcoming electric bill,” Murrieta resident Jackie Findly said. “We have been blasting it for the last few weeks.”
According WeatherCurrents.com meteorologist Jim Purpura, the Inland Empire has been on the western edge of a large warm-weather dome that has hovered over much of the region.
“The dome is an extension of the high pressure system that dominated the south all summer, but pushed into southern California and stayed most of August, and now into a bit of September,” Purpura said.
Purpura added that the extremely warm temperatures in August were also associated with surges of monsoonal moisture.
The monsoon element coupled with the mass of warm air created ripe conditions for a lively summer thunderstorm season.
“Many of the storms in the past few weeks fired along the ‘Elsinore Convergence Zone,’ a favored area for storms including tornadoes,” he said. “Those storms usually converge from Lake Elsinore to Hemet.”
Recently, Moreno Valley was struck by a menacing storm that sent mudslides into houses and flooded neighborhood streets.
Although many people cite “global warming” as the cause of the extreme weather, Purpura said that the climate change can’t be attributed to any single weather event.
“That really is media and political hype that is not based on solid science.”
Looking forward to the upcoming fall and winter season, Purpura says that wet weather is likely on the horizon.
“We are entering an El Nino for this winter,” he explained. “If the El Nino is strong enough in southern California, this usually means more storms than normal and often above normal rainfall.”
Stephanie D. Schulte is a writer/photographer with SWRNN. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.