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National Weather Service Forecast Office
Tucson, Arizona
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Cyclone: Hurricane Lester
Date it affected AZ: August 23-24, 1992
Affected Arizona as...: Tropical Storm (passed over Nogales and Tucson; dissipated over New Mexico)
Lester was only briefly a hurricane as he approached the Baja and Sonora coasts, but his rapid acceleration to the northeast prevented the storm from weakening very much as it approached Arizona. The remnant eye of Lester passed just east of Tucson, AZ, just after midnight on the 24th, with sustained winds of 31 mph and gusts to 45 mph measured at Tucson International Airport. Skies even cleared briefly as the pressure fell rapidly to 29.52 inches (999mb), then rose rapidly as the rain resumed. Much stronger gusts (up to 70 mph) were reported on a couple of newly-installed mountaintop fire weather observing sites northeast of Tucson. Widespread 2 to 4 inch rainfalls were reported, with an isolated total of 5.50 inches in Cascabel, AZ. Both wind and flood damage was far worse just to the south of the International Border in Sonora, Mexico. Over 5000 people were left homeless as several communities were literally destroyed by hurricane-force wind gusts as far inland as Hermosillo. This storm would have probably been even more noteworthy had it not been for Category 5 Hurricane Andrew approaching Miami on the day Lester tracked across southeast Arizona.
Image of Hurricance Lester track. Close up image of Hurricane Lester track
Image of rainfall produced by Hurricane Lester across Mexico and the southwest United States
Image courtesy of Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov)