Dennis’ Tidbits


December 1, 2017

2017 has been the driest five-month period to start the rainy season with only .06 inches since July 1

A rainless November and only 0.06 in. on the board from July 1 through today, December 1, making it the driest five month period to start the season. Normal to date since July 1 should be at about 2.1 inches. The latest front produced nothing but fog and then drizzle as its moisture had been squeezed out when it left the Bay area. Even they got only a tenth of an inch. The Pacific storm train is relegated to Oregon and Washington where the earth is already saturated, especially in Washington where November rain totals nearly doubled November’s normal output. 

Incoming storms encounter the mighty Eastern Pacific High about 800-1000 miles out and take a sharp left turn thus focusing their energy on the Pacific Northwest and leaving most of California high and dry. This pattern is projected to continue for at least the next week to ten days or beyond.

With that high in place and its ridge that extends to the Great Basin we get lots of sun with above normal temps and occasional offshore flows, not the howling Santanas but rather a gentle to moderate offshore flow resulting in low humidities but not the Red Flag conditions. Winds would not exceed 30-35 mph in places like Cajon Pass, the major outlet for northeast winds. Local ocean temps are dropping quicker and now stand at 59-61 degrees and could, if this is your classic La Nina, which I think is the case, ocean temps could drop at least another five degrees before all is said and done. Remember the past two winters saw temps seldom sink below 60 the whole time. 

In some extreme cases local ocean temps have really plummeted to near 50, in fact I recorded a 49 in early April of 1974 and 50 and 51 in February of 1989, a strong La Nina year. Lack of surf is yet another symptom of La Nina and sure enough, we’re mired in one of our worst flat autumns with only three more weeks of fall and the forward motion of these incoming storms is unfavorable for sending any swells our way. We have to depend on an occasional late season Southern Hemi pulse but even that’s not happening. As a result there are prolonged stretches of 1-2 foot surf or less. A couple times last month saw little dribblers being measured in inches to a point where a boat wake could stir up something. Just stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted. 


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