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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 85  |  October 23, 2020

Dennis’ Tidbits


October 16, 2020

Hot and dry with bright objects in the sky

Dennis 5That bright object you see in the evening sky is none other than our Red Planet Mars, which presently is only 40 million miles away from planet Earth. Mars won’t be that close again until 2035. About the same time in the evening, Jupiter is equally as bright, and then in the pre-dawn hours before sunrise in the eastern sky is the very bright planet Venus. 

If you’ll remember, Mars was even brighter in the early summer of 2018 in the SE and southern skies when the planet was only 30 million miles away. Like I said, the Red Planet won’t be that close to Earth again until 2035. I’ll be 88 then, so it’s a long shot that I’ll see that event. Hell, I’m lucky I made it to 73! Hey, if Keith Richards can do it, then so can McWeather, but I didn’t burn the rubber like he did for 25 years, so I still have some dances left in me! Just ask the Sandpiper and World Anthem if they ever reopen again, hopefully sooner than later.

Here we are in the middle of October and surface ocean temps around Orange County are still in the somewhat balmy 68-70-degree range, which are 3-5 degrees above normal for mid-October. We’ve had water as warm as 70 well into October a handful of times like in 1957, 1972, 1976, 1983, 1992, and of course 1997, when 70+ readings lingered well into November of that year.

In case you haven’t heard yet, we’re locked in to a fairly strong La Nina event which explains the very busy Atlantic tropical system season and the very quiet Eastern Pacific campaign. A major symptom of a strong La Nina pattern –over the last say half a century or more – is a dry California, which is not good news at all in light of the rampant wildfires this year. 

The North Pacific storm track is displaced far to the north in a La Nina as the Eastern Pacific high-pressure ridge is expanded – and much more pronounced – as incoming storms encounter this large ridge. They are steered to the northeast and make landfall on a continual basis in the soggy, gloomy Pacific Northwest, so they get all the rain with very few exceptions. 

La Nina events as a rule follow a significant El Nino like in 1957-58 when over 24 inches of rain was recorded that season. An equally strong La Nina replaced the El Nino in late 1958 and 1959, and as a result, a paltry 5.58 inches fell here in town. San Francisco up north had a bone dry 6.06 inches, a year after a near-record 38.07. Another characteristic of a major La Nina is a significant upswing in hot, very dry Santana wind events. 

Here in the Southwest, most communities have endured one of their hottest and driest summers on record. That pattern has extended into all of September and all the way up to this point here in mid-October, so it’s feast or famine for rainfall depending on where you live anywhere west of the Continental Divide. More on La Nina in next Tuesday’s edition of Stu News

Until then have a great weekend and ALOHA to you all!


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, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

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