Weather or Not:

Winter’s Homestretch!

Dennis McTighe

McWeather is starting his seventh year with the Indy and it’s been an honor to be a team member.

Rain totals continue to pile up. Last weekend’s downpour put us well above 18 inches for the 2010-11 season, just about double the season normal as of Feb. 22. Lots of drama with this last storm; hail, thunderstorms, a couple of waterspouts, and snow down to 3,000 feet. And guess what? There’s another cold upper level low sliding down the West Coast and is expected to have quite an impact on Laguna’s weather this coming weekend, possibly with enough moisture in it to jack our season total to over 20 inches. And we still have March ahead, which averages over two and a half inches.

We haven’t totaled 20 inches since the 2004-05 season. We’re supposedly in the middle of a La Nina event, yet the copious rains are uncharacteristic. Last year at this time we had the southern oscillation (El Nino) yet we finished the 2009-10 season only slightly above normal. Aside from rainfall, there have been true to form symptoms associated with a strong La Nina and those are the complete lack of surf this winter and the colder than normal ocean temperatures. If you look back to last season it was non-stop surf, often times well overhead with just a smattering of small days, plus the water wasn’t that cold, averaging around 58.5 degrees. This winter has been a complete turnaround with water temps. around 54.5 degrees and flat for weeks at a time, perhaps being one of the worst winters on record, but we kind of expected a letdown after last year’s epic surf. I wish Senor El Nino would return and boot Senorita La Nina out of town for a long time, but in reality it’s just the system of checks and balances at work here.

As previously mentioned, March’s rainfall averages a little more than two and a half inches in Laguna and April receives about 1.2 inches and after that it’s pretty much done until the following November.

Our wettest March totals: March 1983 with 10.40 inches, March 1938 with 9.65 inches, March 1991 with 8.78 inches, and March 1992 with 7.96 inches.

Laguna’s hottest March day was March 26, 1996 with 92 degrees.

We’re gaining two to three minutes a day in the amount of sun time per day with today’s sunrise at 6:26 a.m. and sunset at 5:44 p.m. Daylight Savings Time is Sunday, March 13 and spring begins eight days after that.

Monday’s destructive 6.3 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand did so much damage because the quake was so shallow, only three and a half miles. Most quakes are 10 to 30 or more miles below the earth’s surface so just about everything was flattened.

Until next week, weather fans, 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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