Flash floods, wilting heat and lightning on the beach. It’s monsoon season in a place that’s not supposed to have one.
Changes in ocean temperature thousands of miles away have delivered Arizona-style summer weather to Southern California, driving up humidity and causing sporadic destruction.
Warm equatorial water in the Pacific, from mainland Mexico to Peru, normally pumps monsoonal air up the Sea of Cortez into the Southwest, with mountains blocking it from the coastal plains of Southern California.
But this year, the ocean temperatures are higher than normal, climatologists say, producing a more powerful “tropical wave” that made it all the way to the coast.
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