Dennis’ Local Almanac

By DENNIS McTIGHE

Hello, July!

Early in the morning of June 28, 1992, way out in the middle of nowhere near a little hick town in the high desert on the way to Las Vegas, a powerful 7.5 earthquake rocked and rolled that woke most residents here in Southern California. The quake was unusually deep by quake standards at 50 miles underground, so it was more of a violent rolling motion for around 30 seconds. Thank goodness the epicenter was a long way from Laguna – about 175 miles – so there was minimal damage here in town. The quake struck at 4:59 a.m.

If the Landers quake wasn’t enough to rattle everyone’s nerves, a second wakeup call struck right under Big Bear Lake exactly three hours later at 7:59 a.m. and measured a 6.6 on the Richter Scale. It was a violent shaker since the epicenter was only about five miles deep. The 7.5 Landers event was the strongest quake to hit our state since July 1952 when there was a 7.5 shaker in the Tehachapi quake up near Bakersfield.

At 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, there was a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 135 mph in the Atlantic. It was setting its sights on Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada with a central pressure of 942 millibars, moving to the WNW at 18 mph – and it was named Beryl.

It quickly intensified and became the earliest tropical system (after its appearance) to reach this strength – and the storm qualified as a rapid intensification hurricane. That’s when a tropical system’s central pressure drops more than 24 millibars in the short span of just 24 hours. On Friday at 7 p.m., Beryl was a Category 1 with a central pressure of 984 millibars with sustained winds of 85 mph.

The National Hurricane Center and the NOAA’s forecast of a radical hurricane season were spot on. Normally the second named storm in the Atlantic doesn’t happen until July 17, and there are two more systems out there that are expected to intensify and be assigned a name as well. Those next two names will be Chris and Debby. At the rate things are going, the Atlantic could use up all their names and have to resort to using the Greek alphabet. The thing that blows my mind the most is how fast Beryl beefed up into a major hurricane, almost literally overnight. There’s almost no wind shear and surface ocean temps down there in the upper ‘80s. We also have to deal with a strengthening La Niña event, so everything is in place for the Atlantic to be on heavy steroids. Stay tuned on that one.

Now it’s July, our driest month of the year with an average of just a trace of precipitation. There was one exception and that was in July 2015 when we got nearly an inch of rain from hurricane Dolores’ outer bands. Dolores made it all the way up to the middle of the Baja Peninsula as a Category 3 storm.

The average hi-lo temp for July here in Laguna is 78-65 degrees. The hottest July days in town were 95 on July 2, 1985,] and 95 on July 20, 1960. The chilliest July night on record was on July 6, 1954, when the temp dropped to 51 degrees. The normal July ocean temps are around 68-70 degrees. The warmest July water temp was a balmy 78 degrees for a brief time in July 2006 and the coldest July water was 55 for almost a week in 2010, a result of heavy upwelling from several days of abnormally strong NW winds. There you have it for this week, and we’ll get together again next week.

Until then, ALOHA!


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