McWeather or Not


Spring has sprung!

By the time you read this it will be April, no foolin’. March is soon to be in the history books. It turned out to be a bit warmer than normal with an average high temperature of 68.8 degrees, one degree higher than normal. The average low temperature was 47.2 degrees, also a degree above normal. Our warmest day was March 5 with 80 degrees. Our coolest night was March 1 with 40 degrees. March rainfall totaled about 2.3 inches, just shy of the normal of 2.5 inches. Our highest wind gust was 45 mph in the early morning of March 22.

The past few mornings have seen a bit of the morning marine layer that is so typical of our springtime months, thicker and more persistent as we get into May and especially June, hence the nicknames “May gray” and “June gloom”. It happens every year, some years really overcast like last year when it was gloomy for almost four solid months. On average we get about five gloomy days in April, around 10 to 12 in May, and over half the month of June. Once every so often we get a miracle spring with minimal gloom like in 1996 when we had only three gloomy days in May and only one day in June. Sometimes the marine layer is up to 5,000 ft. deep producing heavy drizzle. Normally as we get into July the stratus clouds are thinner and usually burn off by late morning with clear sunny afternoons. By August the marine layer only shows up a few times. Every so often it’s gloomy most of the summer like in 1967, 1973, 1991, and 2010.
Here are a few notable March weather events from the past:
March 10, 1933: the Newport Inglewood Fault dishes out a 6.4 earthquake causing extensive damage to the Long Beach area. The epicenter was actually just south of the Huntington Beach Pier near the power plant.

March, 1938: a three day rain event floods the area with up to 10 inches. Research on the event reveals the source of the flash flooding to be the newly discovered atmospheric river. That particular river was  about 250 miles wide stretching only from Point Conception to San Diego.

March 1983: wettest March on record in Laguna with over 10 inches, all part of a powerful El Nino event. Over 31 inches of rain would fall during that 1982-83 season. More on March next week. Aloha.
Dennis McTighe served as a meteorologist and NOAA forecaster. He has been keeping daily weather records since 1958.

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