few clouds


Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 37  |  May 7, 2021

Dennis’ Tidbits


April 30, 2021

Still little to no rain, but hurricane season is right around the corner

Dennis 5Monday’s precipitation amounted to a measly 0.04 inches, bringing the 2020-21 season total to 4.29 inches. Heck, they had that much in three hours near Abilene, Texas, on Wednesday during a cluster of severe thunderstorms! Here in Laguna our April total was 0.20 inches, far short of the normal for April of 1.22 inches. If the season were to end today, we’d be the second driest on record, second only to the 3.71 from the 2006-07 campaign. Third driest was 4.30 from 1960-61 and fourth would be 4.42 in 2001-02. Local ocean temps have dropped back down into the high 50s over the entire county as of late. Normal for the date is 60-62 degrees. The month of May is also subject to extreme fluctuations in water temps around here. Historically it’s been as cold as 50 and as warm as 74.

So here comes May and temps begin to warm up a tad with an average hi-lo of 72-53. Our warmest May high temp was 96 on May 16, 1967, and May 5 and 16 in 2013 from two separate late season Santana wind events. Our lowest May minimum temp occurred on May 6, 1964, with 44. Normal May rainfall in Laguna is 0.22 inches and our wettest May was in 1977 with 3.03 inches. Normal May ocean temps are around 62-64 degrees with our coldest of 50 in 1980 and our warmest of 74 in 1997. May typically sees an increase in the morning marine layer with fog and low clouds that usually clear by noon or so, but we average around six days with no clearing at all and we call it May Gray.

On May 15th, the 2021 Eastern Pacific tropical storm and hurricane season begins and runs through November 30th. The assigned names for the upcoming season are listed in alphabetical order as follows: Andres, Blanca, Carlos, Dolores, Enrique, Felicia, Guillermo, Hilda, Ignacio, Jimena, Kevin, Linda, Marty, Nora, Olaf, Patricia, Rick, Sandra, Terry, Vivian, Waldo, Xina, York, and Zelda. On the average the Eastern Pacific will pop out around 16-18 named storms, with about half of those reaching hurricane velocity and 4-5 reaching Category 3 with winds in excess of 111 mph. 

We’ve only used the whole alphabet once and that was in 1992 during a healthy El Nino event, which tends to increase the frequency of cyclone production. The strongest Category 5 on record was Hurricane Patricia in October of 2015, with sustained winds of 200 mph and occasional gusts as high as 230 mph. She made landfall in a very remote area of Mainland Mexico, about halfway between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, with only one casualty as she was a very small system with hurricane-force winds only 30 miles out from the center. Her central pressure set a record too with the reading of 892 millibars. 

These systems can send some epic south swells if the storm’s forward progress is moving in the proper direction while inside our swell window. The amount of surf we get from these systems varies greatly from year to year, but the overall pattern has been our most productive swell makers occurring when there’s an El Nino going on. Last season was a fraud because a strong La Nina was going on. Here’s hoping for an improved 2021 season in that department.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend, ALOHA!


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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