Dennis’ Tidbits


November 13, 2020

From 70 to 54-degree ocean temps: It’s shrinkage time!

Dennis 5Local ocean temps are the coldest since February of 2013, with a reading of 54 degrees here on Wednesday. This is the earliest in the season that it has been this cold. The previous record for the earliest 54-degree water temp was on November 28, 1978. The normal water temp for this date is 61. 

To realize that the water temps were flirting with the 70-degree mark just two weeks ago is totally amazing! That’s what a strong Santana wind event and an Aleutian blaster can do in that short span of time. Since 2013 local ocean temps only dropped as low as 57, and that only happened a few times, with most of the past seven winters hovering around 58-61 the entire winter regardless of La Nina or El Nino.

However, this current La Nina is one of the strongest in recent memory. It will most likely be quite some time before the water temp even rebounds back up to 60. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens on that one. At the rate we’re going it could easily drop to 50 or even 49 like it did in January of 1949, April of 1974, May of 1980, and February of 1989. Major upwelling like this is always a product of strong NW winds over an extended period of time like 3-5 days with little or no letup in velocity even at night. Warm or cold, it’s all about the local winds and the direction from which they’re coming. Normal winter ocean temps around here are around 55-57. Keep in mind, my personal daily records only go back as far as 1958, so the water may have been even colder than 49 at some point in time before 1958.

Meanwhile the Atlantic and Caribbean are just not letting up as Eta has gone full circle twice and has now wandered back up in a northerly direction. She’s situated just off the Florida west coast near Tampa/St. Petersburg, having briefly regained hurricane strength. She’s now a high-end tropical storm with winds of 70 mph and a central pressure of 990 millibars here on late Wednesday evening. 

Sometime early Thursday morning, Eta will make landfall and move to the NE across Central Florida near Orlando, and by early Friday the storm should finally enter the Atlantic off Florida’s east coast and move out to sea, finally out of the picture. But the 2020 season is not over by any means, as a new system, Theta I think it’s called, is way out in the Atlantic and is speeding to the ENE and further away from the U.S. 

If that isn’t enough, a new system has formed south of Puerto Rico and is moving to the west. At this time, it has better than an 80 percent chance of further intensification within the next three to five days, while continuing to move to the west, which would ultimately put the system somewhere in the southern to central Caribbean. 

What a year! Out here in the Eastern Pacific tropics, we’re pretty much done for the 2020 season, making it only as far as the letter O. Incidentally, I might be doing the daily surf report on Laguna’s radio station at some point, hopefully in the near future. I’ll keep y’all posted on that one.

Have a great weekend! ALOHA!