renaissance

McWeather or Not

Sea and Sky Energy!

By Dennis McTighe

With last Sunday’s generous helping of rain, nearly ¾ of an inch, we’re on a pace for an 18 inch season, a little over 4 inches above the seasonal normal of 13.95. So far there’s been good distribution of rain with a 5-7 day dry period between storms. As of today, Monday, it looks like that pattern will continue with an additional half inch or so setting up for this coming weekend, not good news for the Monday-Friday 9 to 5 crew. Don’t get me wrong, any rain is great for this semi arid region we live in, but rain on say a Wednesday instead of a weekend would be nice for a change.

We’re a bit spoiled here in sunny Southern California. Up in the soggy Pacific Northwest, they’re lucky to get two or three days of sun in a whole month from November to April. McWeather can speak from experience having spent time on and off up there for the last year. It wasn’t a pretty picture. Beautiful countryside but a rough climate. That’s why they’re called the Oregon Ducks.

Great waves in town last weekend, especially Saturday. Even Main Beach had a few stand up barrels as a healthy combo of long period Westerly ground swell with a strong short period south- southeast windswell treated us to consistent 4-6 foot peaks. Here’s hoping for a solid winter of surf.

Let’s have a look at some epic winter swells from yesteryear…

Jan. 10, 1953, was  a memorable day at Rincon, a solid 20 feet with perfect glassy conditions, probably the biggest Rincon ever ridden. The winter of 1952-53 was consistently big for weeks on end but Jan. 10 was the capper.

Dec. 3, 1958 saw Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore booming at 30-35 feet. It was only the second winter that newly discovered Waimea had been attempted. Only a handful of riders were out. Big wave pioneers like Greg Noll, Jose Angel, Pat Curran and Peter Cole were launching into the biggest surf ever ridden up to that point.

Dec. 16-17, 1962, Southern California gets rocked by 15- 20-foot surf. All action is focused on newly discovered Redondo Beach Breakwater, a huge left hander off the north jetty. Rincon had sets up to 15 feet that weekend.

More big swells next time, Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. Aloha.

Dennis McTighe served as a meteorologist at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii from 1969 to 1972, and was an NOAA forecaster  and earned a degree in Earth Sciences from UC San Diego and has been keeping daily weather records since 1958.

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