McWeather or Not

Dennis McTighe

Prepare for the Return of Devil Winds

It’s early Tuesday morning, around 7 a.m.  and boy is it ever soupy out there. Visibility is maybe a quarter mile at best with an air temp of 52 degrees with 100% humidity and a dew point of 52 degrees so everything is dripping wet. Even though it’s hard to see Catalina Street from Coast Highway at this hour, by tomorrow at this time we’ll probably be able to see Catalina Island like it’s across the street as a big change is on the way. A strong ridge of high pressure is pushing its way from the Pacific into the Great Basin. As soon as that 30.50 high parks over Southern Utah, possibly by midweek, we can kiss all this marine muck good bye!

Our first northeast howler is about to begin with the mercury likely to soar into the 90s even at water’s edge. Humidity readings could plunge all the way down to 10 to 15% also at water’s edge. Our first Santa Ana wind event is right about on schedule as the average date of the first arrival of the dry offshore wind is Oct. 10. There have been a few occasions when it hit 100 degrees over the years. Oct. 7 and 8, 1958, reached 101 degrees; the year of the Bel Air fire storms, Oct. 13, 1971, was 102 degrees; Oct. 1, 1987, Oct. 12, 1961, and Oct. 7, 1991, all reached 100 degrees. The day of the Laguna fire storm on Oct. 27, 1993, it was 97 degrees with 9% humidity and 45 mph northeast winds. Hard to believe it’s already been almost 18 years since McWeather’s house and the homes of 434 others burned to the ground. The previous winter had dropped 27 inches of rain, double the normal. so the native chaparral  was double its normal size. Lucky for us, last week’s fairly generous helping of rain will ease the fire threat a bit as up to an inch and a half fell in some of the foothill areas. Keep in mind though, the 2010-11 rainy season was well above normal with nearly 22 inches, so local brush is thick once again.

Local ocean temps are already down to 60 degrees with little or no chance if it rebounding at this late stage, and rumor has it that equatorial waters are colder than normal with another La Nina event developing. Did it ever leave? That means wetsuits until next June, dang it! Until 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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