renaissance

McWeather or Not

That’s Why We Live Here!

 

By Dennis McTighe

Turkey weekend’s incredible weather was a perfect example of why we live in this beautiful corner of the world.
While most of the nation is gearing up for Ol’ Man Winter’s arrival, we’re laughin’ under bright  sunshine and 80 degree temps at water’s edge. Makes you wonder, gee, what are the poor people doing?
Several  temperature records were broken during the Thanksgiving weekend. Here in Laguna we tied the all time record for Nov. 26 with 80 degrees set in 1980. Big Bear Lake logged a 68-degree reading last Sunday, a new record for the date and that’s 23 degrees above their seasonal norm. Santa Ana hit 86 degrees last Sunday, a new record for them. Even though we’ve had a handful of warm dry events this fall, we’ve yet to see the strong northeast winds that accompany them. In 2000 we got all the way up to Christmas Day before Santa Ana winds finally arrived around sunset that evening. This is a good thing however in the wildfire department as several good soaking rains over the past few weeks and the absence of these winds have greatly reduced the threat of any serious fires.
As we enter the last month of the year, things begin to ramp up in the rainfall department. December averages around two and a half inches. Laguna’s wettest December was in 1997 when a total of 9.89 inches fell with 8.08 inches in just two days, Dec. 6 and 7, and a whopping 6.85 inches between 2 and 8 a.m. on the 6th alone. The 1997-98 season would end up being the wettest on record in Laguna with 37.27 inches.  Laguna’s warmest December day was Dec. 3, 1958, with 86 degrees and our lowest temp. for December was Dec. 10, 1978, with 22 degrees out in Laguna Canyon.
Continuing our look at epic Pacific winter swells… Dec. 4, 1969… Hawaii’s biggest winter swell even to this day. Sets of 50-feet or larger closed out the whole Bay at Waimea with waves breaking at least 250 yards beyond the normal take off zone. Kaena Point at Oahu’s northwest tip had sets up to an estimated 70 feet plus. Around the corner on Oahu’s west side, Makaha had sets of 35 to 40 feet with only one person with enough stones to attempt it and that was Greg Noll. There were no photographers at Makaha that day, only a couple of artist’s renditions of the incredible event. The historical swell came from a massive low pressure that covered more than a million square miles in the Gulf of Alaska with gale to hurricane force winds and a central pressure of 945 millibars. See you next week, 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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