McWeather or Not


A Month for Records

By Dennis McTighe

We’ve now passed the halfway point of winter, Feb. 5 being the halfway mark. It’s another gorgeous Monday on the heels of a nice weekend. Conditions at noon: clear sunny skies, air visibility at 15 to 20 miles, air temp. is a balmy 73 degrees with no wind and glassy ocean conditions with a water temp. of 53 degrees. Brrrrrrr! Today’s sunrise occurs at 6:37 a.m. and sets at 5:25 p.m.

Last Saturday’s sunset was absolutely stunning with the ocean surface so glassy one could see every reflection from every cloud and shadow on the water. That’s why we live here.

Considering what’s going on over most of the lower 48, we’re sitting pretty; we’re clad in shorts and flops, everybody else is draped in multiple layers. High pressure has been pretty much running the show around here for the past three weeks.

Now it’s time to look at memorable February events of yesteryear from the McTirade files:
Feb. 5 and 6h, 1958, a strong El Nino fueled two day storm drops nearly five inches of rain on Laguna with hail and thunder in the mix. Several cloud-to-ground lightning strikes reported in the South  Laguna area just before sunset.
Feb. 4 and 5, 1960, a record cold snap of 23 degrees out in the canyon and 30 degrees on the sand in downtown Laguna with highs those days of 51. Normal hi-lo for those dates are 66-44, so that’ll give you an idea of just how chilly it was.

February 1961, the driest February on record with a scant 0.15 inches. Normal February rainfall is about 3.1 inches. That 1960-61 rainy season was also the driest on record up to that point at 4.3 inches, a record that stood until the 2006-07 season with 3.71 inches in Laguna.

February 1962, the wettest February on record up to that point with 13.68 inches. That record would stand until

February 1998 when 14.02 inches fell.

Feb. 1, 1963, Santa Ana winds arrive with a vengeance with gusts up to 60 m.p.h. that morning.

Feb. 26, 1967,  a new high temp. record for the month is set with 85 degrees.


Dennis McTighe served as a meteorologist, a NOAA forecaster and earned a degree in earth sciences from UC San Diego. His record-keeping began in 1958.

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