California and Hurricanes

Adjusters tend to pay attention to the weather across the United States a bit more than most people.  One of the first things you’ll begin to see is weather patterns and how they affect where adjusters are working.

Hurricanes affect the gulf coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  Hail affects the middle and southern central US.  Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas all are popular hail states.

California and Hurricanes

But as you begin to see patterns develop, you may begin to ask questions too.  Why don’t we see hurricanes in California?

In the Pacific Ocean they’re called cyclones instead of hurricanes.  But why do we not hear of cyclones ever hitting California?  The answer is two fold.

First, the water off California is warm in the summer.   The prevailing northwesterly winds create an upwelling of cold sub-surface water.  This keeps the water at a cool 63 degrees or cooler along most of the western coast.  In the southern region of California, water temperature may get to 75 degrees on occasion, but these water temperatures are nothing like you find in the Gulf of Mexico.

Secondly, the general path of cyclones in the eastern Pacific move north-westward or westward due to the same winds mentioned above.  This takes the storms far out to sea and away from landfall.

Because of these factors, Pacific landfall of a cyclone is improbable north of central Baja California, which is in Mexico.

Since 1900, only two tropical storms have hit California.  One hit Mexico and traveled north and the other was a direct hit.  So you can’t rule out the possibility of a storm hitting there, but the chances are highly unlikely.

As a new adjuster, you begin to see these tell tale signs of storms and where they hit and where they don’t hit.  We recommend you take the time to be aware of what is going on in the states that you’re licensed in.  The main advantage is being aware.  If a large hail storm hit Denver, you can call the catastrophe companies that you are on roster for and see if they need help for a specific storm.  We’re always looking for reasons to call the dispatch office with legitimate questions  to keep our names in the forefront of their minds.

As adjusters though, we always say it over and over.  Be Prepared.  This means knowing Xactimate well, having valid adjuster licenses, and having your equipment available and ready to roll out of town.