McWeather or Not

Glorious June, So Far 

Dennis McTighe

This spring has been fairly easy on us as far as the gloom is concerned. Although June is normally the cloudiest month here at the beach, so far so good. Monday was picture perfect and today has some stratus cloud cover this morning but things look pretty good for us by afternoon.

We had a bit of rain late Sunday night here in Laguna, but it was nothing compared to just up the road in Ventura and Santa Barbara where up to 1.25 inches fell, all part of a very late in the season Pacific storm system. Cold fronts have been passing through here on a fairly regular basis all spring and that’s why I think the gloom has been minimal because our deserts have been significantly cooler than normal, up to 20 degrees below normal so the temperature gradient has been much smaller between inland readings and surface ocean values. Plus the atmosphere has been swept clean on a regular basis, thus not allowing the air to become stagnant. Santa Barbara hasn’t seen that much rain in June since 1993 when an inch and a half fell. It’s very seldom that we get more than even a quarter of an inch around here in June; we’ve only exceeded that amount four times in the last 50 years. This spring’s procession of cold fronts has kept surface ocean temperatures well below normal, as much as five to seven degrees on some occasions. Today’s ocean temperature is a brisk 58 degrees compared to a normal of 64 degrees for the date. During El Nino events the water temperature will often exceed 70 degrees by early June.

There is almost a 100% chance of seeing significant development of the first tropical system of the 2011 season, located today, Tuesday about 400 miles south of Acapulco, Mexico. The storm’s name will be “Adrian”. It’s right about on time as the first spinner usually forms around the first week of June or thereabouts. The earliest formation of the first tropical storm was April 23, 1983. Of course there was a powerful El Nino going on. His name was “Adolph”. The latest formation was July 10, 1964, and her name was “Annie”. That season produced only six named storms as a result of a strong La Nina event, which stumps the growth and frequency of storms due to strong upper level shear winds and much cooler than normal tropical surface ocean temperatures. We conclude that El Nino events are the surfer’s friend, and La Nina events the enemy. That’s why last summer was so crummy. That’ll do it for this week. See you next time. 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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