Tropical Storm Kay moves up Mexico's Baja peninsula; southwestern Arizona farmers express worries
YUMA, Ariz. - Tropical Storm Kay appeared to head out to sea just short of the U.S. border Friday, after dumping heavy rains on a sparsely populated area of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.
While Kay is expected to continue weakening, it brought some rain to southernmost California.
The eye of Kay came ashore as a hurricane near Mexico's Bahia Asuncion in Baja California Sur state Thursday afternoon, but by Friday it was a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph).
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said there was a chance the outer bands of the big storm could bring heavy rain — and possibly flash floods — to parts of parched Southern California and southwestern Arizona on Saturday.
The Center said "flash, urban, and small stream flooding is likely across Southern California beginning today, especially in and near the peninsular ranges. Flash, urban, and small stream flooding is possible beginning later today in Southwest Arizona."
Read More: Monsoon returns to Phoenix metro area; Tropical Storm Kay veers away from Mexico-California border
Yuma area farmers express worries
While Arizona needs the water, farmers in the Yuma area say rain from this latest round of storm could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how hard the rain falls and where it falls, as leafy greens like lettuce and cauliflower have just been transplanted in the region.
"We’ve got a couple weeks worth of cauliflower transplants," said John Boelts, who owns Desert Premium Farms. "You can see the greenish-yellow plants that are being established."
Currently, it is planting and transplanting season in Yuma. The region reportedly provides 90% of the country's winter vegetables, and winter vegetables like romaine lettuce, spinach, and spring mix have just been put in the ground.
"We have little lettuce seedlings that are smaller than the size of a dime right now. All those crops are really tender, and don’t take to extreme weather very well," said Boelts.
With that in mind, the stormy weather caused by Tropical Storm Kay could cause significant damage, which could, in turn, lead to less supply and higher prices for leafy green.
"This time of year, you’re looking at a harvest window of early to mid-November to December. So consumers, as they get ready for Thanksgiving and on through Thanksgiving, will see the impacts," said Boelts. "We would really prefer it fell somewhere in the watershed, where it could end up behind a storage dam in the Colorado system, and we can put it to use."
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.