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Laguna Beach

Volume 15, Issue 11  | February 7, 2023Subscribe

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Dennis’ Tidbits


Here comes December! 

Dennis 5Our local weather continues to be on an extended winning streak with clear and sunny days, mild temps with gentle breezes and clear brisk nights. However, the rest of the country is dealing with ‘Ol Man Winter’s Wrath, and it’s not even officially winter yet.

The meteorological winter begins on Thursday, Dec. 1 and runs through February 28, 2023, while the standard calendar winter that we follow begins on December 21 and runs until March 21, 2023. Here in Southern California, we’re really dodging a bullet and that’s just fine with me and the rest of the folks here in Laguna. Once again, that’s why we live here!

As a rule, winters in Laguna are a walk in the park compared to most other places in the U.S. Florida and Southern Arizona escape most of the harsh winter weather and that’s about it. I get cabin fever just being cooped up inside for even two or three days. I’m not into having to put on five layers just to step outside for even a short time. I’m way too old and way too tired for that crap. I’m all about shorts and flops.

Here comes December, home of the shortest days of the year as our rainy season begins to ramp up with an average of about 2.6 inches of rain. Historically we’ve had two rainless Decembers – in 1989 and 1990. Other really dry Decembers were 0.06 inches in 1969, 0.14 in 2012 and 0.33 in 1985. Our wettest Decembers were 11.65 inches in 2010, 9.89 in 1997 and 8.64 in 2004. December’s normal hi-lo temp in Laguna is 66-45 degrees. The warmest December day happened on December 3, 1958 with 88 and again on December 12, 1979. Laguna’s coldest night occurred on December 8, 1978 with 28 in town and 22 out in the canyon. 

The winter of 1978-79 was Laguna’s second coldest on record, surpassed only by the winter of 1948-49, when it snowed two inches at Top of the World and the snow stayed on the ground the whole next day. The highest elevation at T.O.W. is 1,105 ft. 

December’s normal ocean temps in Laguna are about 57-60 degrees or so. It’s been as cold as 52 like in 1979 and it’s been as warm as 65 twice; in 1972 and 1997. December gets at least a couple of Santana Wind events that have sent temps into the high 80s in 1958 and 1979. We didn’t get our very first Santana of the season until Christmas Day 2000.

The sheer raw power of that intense thunderstorm way back on August 3, 1952 was a complete life changer for me at the tender age of 5, I kid you not! During the drive back to Hollywood, my birthplace, I was asking my Pop a bunch of questions about that day like “How come we don’t get storms like that in the L.A. area?” and stuff like that. My Pop turned to Mom and uttered, “I think we’ve created a monster. I even dreamed about that storm that night we were back home. I was definitely hooked on the heavens, and I knew right then and there my fascination would be no short term deal. My Pop, who knew a thing or two about weather himself, went on to explain a bit about the atmospheric dynamics that made this violent storm possible. More on that next time in Stu News Laguna!

See y’all next week, ALOHA!


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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