Dennis’ Local Almanac

By DENNIS McTIGHE

La Niña returns this summer

Here on Sunday (June 2) at 3 p.m., it doesn’t look like the sun is going to make an appearance today, as the dreaded June Gloom is running the show, just like it did in April and May. The return of the Enemy, La Niña is the perpetrator. The water’s still cold, barely topping the 60-degree mark. With the unwelcome return of La Niña, don’t look for a great summer, as we’ll be lucky if we see even one Baja swell the whole time. We’ll also be lucky if we see even one day with a 70-degree water temp, and the marine layer will be slow to burn off the whole summer like it did in ‘59, ‘67, ‘73 and ‘91. Those were all years when a strong La Niña was going on. Laguna’s prime summer lefthander break only fires on a severe angle (165-180 degrees) short interval (10-11 seconds) and that would be a Baja swell exclusively.

The bathymetry of the place is set up for only those kinds of conditions. When it’s at least six to eight feet, the sets first feather way out there at Second Reef about 125 yards offshore and peel almost perfectly until they spend all their energy 150 yards at Oak Street, a block north. The long interval (16-20 seconds) with a 200-220 degree direction tends to close out the spot, so only Baja swells light up the spot. When there’s a big SSW or SW Southern Hemisphere swell the action shifts about a mile northward to a spot we call Rockpile, that can handle the direction and size out at Rockpile Point about a 100 yards offshore. Rockpile is the first beach north of the northernmost point of Main Beach. A good indicator of a really big swell is fourth Reef, about 100 yards outside of the Point. Those two spots are Laguna’s prime summer swell breaks.

Now it’s June and there’s been no shortage of gloom since early April as we’re still waiting for that elusive 70-degree day. On Sunday, we only made it to 67 and everything was wet early this morning as some heavy drizzle dropped 0.05 inches, bringing our season total to just under 22 inches at 21.98. Normal to date is 13.89. Our 2023-24 season comes to an end at the conclusion of this month. Temps continue well below the normal to date of 72 and the normal low is 60. The average for the month is 73-61. The hottest June days were 101 on June 16, 1981 and 101 on June 12, 1979. Our coolest June reading was 50 on June 2, 1953. Average June rainfall is around a 1/10th of an inch usually from heavy drizzle that is occasionally associated with a thick marine layer. Normal ocean temps for June are around 64-66, but have been as warm as 81 on June 16, 1981 and have been as chilly as 57 in June 2005. There have actually been two out-of-season Santana wind events that sent the temp in Laguna up to a sizzling 101.

This week will be much the same with a thick marine layer until about Thursday with a bit more sunshine slated for later this upcoming week.

Finally, the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season was underway last Saturday and it looks to be a very busy year with 17 to 25 named storms, eight to 12 becoming hurricanes and five to eight becoming at least Category 4 or 5. Stay tuned on that one.

See you next week, ALOHA!


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