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Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 5  |  January 15, 2021

Dennis’ Tidbits 


January 12, 2021

Setting expectations

Dennis 5Here on Sunday, the sun will set at 5:01 p.m. and will not set before 5 p.m. until the first Sunday in November, and in about three or four days, the sun will start rising about a minute later each day. Right now it’s still locked in at 6:58 a.m. The sun will also be rising about a minute earlier each day in about three or four days. 

Our earliest sunrise occurs in early June at 5:41 a.m. PDT and our latest sunset of the year occurs at 8:08 p.m. PDT from June 21 through about July 6.

Surface ocean temps across the county are at their lowest readings in years at 54 in Huntington and Newport, 55 in Laguna, and 56 in San Clemente.

Laguna’s rainfall since last July 1 is a paltry 1.04 inches, way below the normal to date of 5.02 inches. We’re on pace to break the record for Laguna’s driest season of 3.71 inches in the 2006-07 season. At its current pace, the 2020-21 season would finish at 3.03 inches. Of course a lot can happen between now and June 30, but as of now, that’s where we stand.

Since the turn of the new century, only two seasons have recorded at least 20 or more inches, 2004-05 and 2010-11, only one per decade since 2000. 

Looking back, the 1930s had three such seasons with at least 20, the 40s had two, the 50s had two, the 60s had three, the 70s had three, the 80s had two, and the 90s were really wet with four. There was 1991-92 with 21 inches, 1992-93 with 27.36, 1994-95 with 25.04, and the record 1997-98 season in Laguna with 37.27 inches.

Nearly everyone east of the Pacific coastal ranges remembers significant winter storms – days of heavy snow, interminable blizzards, extreme inconvenience, economic loss, and, sometimes, personal tragedy. For Wyoming, Kansas, and Texas, the blizzard of 1888 was one of the worst on record. January 11-13 of that year brought the most disastrous blizzard ever known in Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota, combining gale winds, blowing snow, and extreme cold into a lethal, destructive push from the Rockies eastward. 

That same year, the Eastern Seaboard from Chesapeake Bay to Maine got its biggest storm of the century. From March 11-14, 1888, a blizzard dumped an average of 40 inches of snow over southeastern New York and southern New England, where you couldn’t pay me enough to even visit. The storm killed 200 in New York City alone and total deaths were more than 400.

There have been countless other winter storms but one that really stands out is the winter of 1977-78, one that was unusually harsh, one of the very worst of the 20th century. That winter’s most devastating punch was the Northeast Blizzard of ‘78. From February 5-7, 1978, the blizzard created absolute havoc along the Eastern Seaboard. Over two feet of snow fell in places like New York City and Boston, with winds of 55 mph, which caused massive snowdrifts, drove seas through seawalls, undermined homes, destroyed beaches, breached protective dunes, and left many areas devastated from Cape May, N.J. to Maine.

Our climate here even in a “stormy winter” is still a walk in the park compared to what they have to endure back east every winter at some point, and that’s why we live here! We are so blessed! I honestly don’t see how they do it back there. 

(The 9th edition of the Weather Almanac helped me put this column together.)

See y’all on Friday, 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, 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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