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McWeather or Not

Summer Delights

Dennis McTighe

It’s Tuesday, June 28, and on this date in 1992 there were two strong earthquakes here in Southern California. The first one struck at 4:59 a.m. under the desert town of Landers about 115 miles from Laguna. The shaker was a strong one measuring 7.4. Just three hours later at 7:59 a.m. a 6.6 quake rattled everyone’s nerves under Big Bear Lake.

June 2011 is almost in the history books. It was uneventful, nothing to write home about. I’ve seen a lot gloomier Junes, though. At least the sun made an appearance most of the days. The water temp. along the Orange County coast is running from 65-68 degrees today, exactly normal for late June. The warmest water for the date was 75 degrees in 1996 and the coldest for the date was 56 degrees in 1964 and 1991.

The first thunderstorms of the 2011 summer monsoon season are pushing northward into Arizona today about a week ahead of schedule. The average first arrival of these storms is July 5-7. These monsoons usually run through mid September and are responsible for over 60 percent of the annual rainfall for the southern half of the state. This same air mass also affects the inland portions of Southern California, particularly the mountain and desert regions and occasionally drifting west and reaching the coast. Most summers here in Laguna are affected by these tropical influences a couple times at least, usually in August.

O.K. it’s time for a rundown on past El Nino summers and they were all good ones.

Summer of 1958: Eight strong Southern Hemisphere swells and eight healthy Baja swells, 72 degree water all summer and nine days with thunderstorms with the big one happening all night on Aug. 15.

Summer of 1966: Only five flat days all summer. Water temp. only dipped below 70 degrees four days. Only five cloudy days all summer. Several overhead Baja swells, but the capper was the swell we got from Category Five Hurricane “Kathleen” on Sept. 16-18, which put Newport Point in the limelight. For three solid days Newport’s 15th Street transformed into California’s version of Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline with triple overhead bombs every bit as heavy as their North Shore counterpart.

Finally our first weekend of summer 2011 has come and gone and it was a pretty good one with plenty of waves and sunshine, in fact a bit too much sun for McWeather’s mug.

See you next week. Aloha!

Dennis McTighe served as a meteorologist and NOAA forecaster. His daily weather records start in 1958.

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