Dennis’ Local Almanac

By DENNIS McTIGHE

Summer is here!

Summer’s here and the time is right for dancin’ in the streets” –Martha and the Vandellas, 1965, Motown Records

And it’s acting like summer as temps reached the elusive 80 threshold this weekend here at the beach!

The monsoon season of 2024 kicked in with a vengeance over the weekend as moisture from tropical storm Alberto invaded many parts of the Desert Southwest. Numerous heavy thundershowers flooded parts of Arizona and New Mexico and some of that tropical moisture even found its way into our desert regions with dew points skyrocketing up to 60 or more when dew points are normally in the 20s. Former tropical storm Alberto dumped truckloads of rain that flooded the Texas Gulf Coast and northern Mexico and then on to New Mexico and Arizona. It wasn’t so much the wind that blew at 45 mph, but it was more about the water that covered a huge expanse of real estate.

Typically, the monsoon season kicks in around July 1, but it has happened as early as the middle of June on occasions. The season usually peters out sometime in the middle of September, but once in a while, the thunderstorms will last as late as the October 1. Sometimes the remains of a Mexican tropical system will pass over Arizona and drop copious amounts of rain.

El Niño and La Niña events play a large part on what kind of summer we’ll see here in Laguna. With the unwelcome return of a strong La Niña I’m going out on a limb, (hoping nobody’s behind me with a chainsaw) and predicting a sub-par summer with lots of marine layer clouds that are slow to burn off, colder than normal ocean temps, little or no Baja swell action, and less thunderstorm activity in our local mountain and desert areas in our interior.

When there’s a healthy El Niño going on during any given summer, there’s a lot less marine layer, significantly warmer water temps, plenty of Baja south swell action, and more frequent visits from monsoonal episodes.

The proof is in the pudding, as I have daily comprehensive weather and surf records going all the way back to June 1958. They clearly show definite behavior found during the El Niño and La Niña events, whether weak or strong, there’s a profound trend. Our best summers have coincided with an El Niño every time and our crummiest summers have occurred when there’s a La Niña in the water. Our best summers on record were 1958, 1965 and 1966, 1972, 1983, 1985, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2009, 2015 and 2023. Our worst summers were 1959, 1962, 1967, 1973, 1975, 1986, 1991, 1995, 2005, 2010 and 2018.

Let’s hope that my prediction for this summer is totally off the mark, but seeing as we just endured one of our gloomiest springs on record, I’ll stick to my forecast. Might as well break down and get a job! I’ve applied at dozens of places, but not one called back. Maybe that’s because when I got to the part on the application that read “list position desired,” I always put horizontal which might have had something to do with it!

It’s officially summer, ALOHA!


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