The influence of eastern Pacific tropical cyclone remnants on the southwestern United States

Elizabeth A. Ritchie, Kimberly M. Wood, David S. Gutzler, Sarah R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Forty-three eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone remnants with varying impact on the southwestern United States during the period 1992-2005 are investigated.Of these, 35 remnants (81%) brought precipitation to some part of the southwestern United States and the remaining 8 remnants (19%) had precipitation that was almost entirely restricted to Mexico, although cloud cover did advect over the southwestern United States in some of these cases.Although the tropical cyclone-strength winds rapidly diminish upon making landfall, these systems still carry a large quantity of tropicalmoisture and, upon interaction withmountainous topography, are found to drop up to 30% of the local annual precipitation. Based on common rainfall patterns and large-scale circulation features, the tropical cyclones are grouped into five categories. These include a northern recurving pattern that is more likely to bring rainfall to the southwestern United States; a southern recurving pattern that brings rainfall across northern Mexico and the Gulf Coast region; a largely north and/or northwestward movement pattern that brings rainfall to the west coast of the United States; a group that is blocked from the southwest by a ridge, which limits rainfall to Mexico; and a small group of cases that are not clearly any of the previous four types. Composites of the first four groups are shown and forecasting strategies for each are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-210
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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