The Indio, California Thunderstorm of 24 September 1939

  1. AGU Hydrology Section
  1. Charles B. Pyke

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/SP004p0143

Precipitation Analysis for Hydrologic Modeling

Precipitation Analysis for Hydrologic Modeling

How to Cite

Pyke, C. B. (1975) The Indio, California Thunderstorm of 24 September 1939, in Precipitation Analysis for Hydrologic Modeling (ed AGU Hydrology Section), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/SP004p0143

Author Information

  1. U. S. Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1975

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118656037

Online ISBN: 9781118668993

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • Coachella Valley;
  • Isohyets;
  • Mass rainfall curves;
  • Meteorology;
  • Thunderstorms

Summary

On 24 September 1939 an intense thunderstorm dropped 6.45 inches of precipitation in 6 hours at the desert community of Indio, California. This is compared to a normal annual value of 3.00 inches for this station and a 100-year 6-hour precipitation of approximately 2.1 inches. An even greater amount of rain was reported by an amateur geologist (now deceased)who lived several miles southeast of Indio and claimed that a 12-inch-deep can filled and overflowed as the result of this storm.

This extreme desert thunderstorm occurred as a weakening hurricane was approacing the southern California coastal area from the south; and it is hypothesized that the thunderstorm may have developed as a portion of one of the hurricane's spiral bands was broken off from the main storm center by the mountains of southern Baja California and traveled northwestward through the Gulf of California and into the Coachella Valley of California, where it was slowed and uplifted by the wedge of mountains surrounding this valley.