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Out West: Hurricane Norbert expected to impact three-state area

Hurricane Norbert is expected to approach southern California before dissipating early next week.
Hurricane Norbert is expected to approach southern California before dissipating early next week.Gary London

Updated. High surf/beach erosion advisories issued again for Southern California beaches/coastal areas. Meteorologists comparing current conditions to the record breaking storms of 1982.

The unusually wet summer monsoon pattern of 2014 is expected to assault the southwestern U.S. again this weekend as hurricane Norbert tracks towards southern California.

What has been a very wet and cooler than average summer in areas of Arizona and Utah shows no signs of ending within the immediate future as another in a series of eastern Pacific hurricanes should impact the region beginning early Friday.

Significant rainfall is most likely once again particularly Sunday and Monday over much of Arizona and southern and central Utah as the expected remnants of hurricane Norbert drift into southern California near San Diego.

Latest models suggest significant shower and thundershower activity may develop near and just offshore San Diego and adjacent inland areas late Sunday through Monday

Flash flood watches, advisories, or warnings may be needed once again, particularly in west central and northern Arizona on Sunday, when activity should reach a maximum. Along the southern California coast a a beach hazards statement/high surf advisory is in effect due to building swells both from the southern hemisphere, and from Hurricane Norbert. Officially:

Surf will begin to build across south facing beaches this afternoon with the largest surf occurring over the weekend when breakers of 4 to 7 feet are likely. The combination of high surf and large tides has the potential to cause minor coastal flooding during the evening high tides from Saturday through Monday. While this upcoming surf event will not be nearly as powerful as the one produced by former Hurricane Marie, it will bring a high risk for rip currents, sneaker waves and has the potential to cause additional beach erosion.

Early Thursday morning, Norbert was just south of the tip of Baja California. Norbert's sustained winds were at 70 knots, with gusts to 80 mph. Norbert is expected to track northwestward and weaken, but is likely also to bring unsettled conditions to southern California.

Meteorologists in Utah are comparing the summer weather pattern of 2014 to that of 1982, when similar conditions progressed to an extremely wet and stormy autumn and winter which was associated with one of the strongest El Nino events on record. That year's summer was similarly punctuated with stronger and more numerous tropical storms due to sea temperature anomalies which have also been present for the past six months.