Chalk up yet another nice week here in Dodge. Isn’t it nice having a real summer? Take yesterday, Monday, July 25, and compare it to last year, same date. Yesterday was cloud free from dawn to dusk with high temperatures approaching 80 degrees and gentle breezes from the southwest. The water was clear and warm at 68-70 degrees. Last July 25 the sun never came out with a thick unrelenting marine layer and drizzle until almost noon. The temperature only made it to 67 degrees with the water temp. a winterlike 57 degrees, and it was like that for weeks on end.
Last Saturday afternoon on the incoming tide saw a really nice little three- to four-foot SSE pulse compliments of the remains of Hurricane Dora, which nearly made Category 5 status a few days previous. Had a wonderful bodysurf session at Oak Street sandbar. The waves were coming in at a severe angle off Brooks Street and hitting the inside piled up sandbar between Brooks and Oak with several speedy little barrels. The 70-degree water made it even more pleasurable. By Sunday it was flat again.
Back into the time machine for a ride back to the magical El Nino summer of 1983, one of the best ever. From June to October the waves just kept coming, non stop! The 1982-83 El Nino event was probably the strongest of the entire 20th century followed closely by the 1938-41 and 1997-98 events.
June of ’83 opened with sunny skies and a strong New Zealand swell at 8-10 feet at 19 seconds. Lower Trestle looked like J-Bay. The water temp. was already 70 degrees. Then on June 10, strong tropical storm Adolph sent a nice three- to six-foot south swell our way. Two days of June gloom on the 12th and 13th, then a return to sunny skies for most of the rest of the month. Right after Adolph’s waves another fat Southern Hemi arrived for five whole days. On the 20th, tropical storm Barbara stirred things up with a dandy little head-high pulse, sunny skies and 72 degree water. Right on the heels of Barbara’s waves a totally out of season NW groundswell of three- to six-foot closed out the month of June.
July was flat the first two days and then Bingo! Yet another double overhead Southern Hemi with day-long glassy conditions. Tropical storm Cosme fizzled out when it swung out past the tip of Baja, but no worries, Hurricane Dalilia was right on his tail. More on the incredible summer of ’83 next week. Until then, aloha!
Dennis McTighe worked as an Air Force meteorologist and NOAA forecaster. He has kept daily weather records since 1958.