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Volume 15, Issue 23  | March 21, 2023Subscribe

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Dennis’ Local Almanac


Warmer weather is on the way! 

Dennis 5Here on Sunday, (Feb. 5), we were at the exact midway point of winter. The sun rose at 6:46 a.m. and set at 5:24 p.m. February is normally Laguna’s wettest month by a few hundredths of an inch with an average of around 3.22 inches. 

Our wettest February occurred in 1998 with a grand total of 15.02 inches with 22 days recording measurable rainfall. The wettest day that month occurred on the 23rd when a total of three inches fell. We were in the midst of a powerful El Niño event, arguably the strongest such event of the 20th century, right up there with the 1982-83 episode. 

The 1997-98 season wound up as the wettest season ever with a total of 37.27 inches. There have been two completely rainless Februarys and that was in 1961 and 1984. February’s normal hi-lo temp is 66-46. The warmest February day occurred on February 5 (in 1988) with a high of 88 and the coldest February night was on the 20th in 1989 with a low of 32. The normal water temp for February is 56 degrees with the warmest of 64 degrees in 1997 and the coldest was 52 in 1989. The strongest wind gust was 80 mph early in the morning of February 10th, 1978.

A new coldest temp record was set last Friday with a reading of minus 112 degrees at Mt. Washington, N.H., making it the coldest temp ever recorded in the continental United States. It broke the old record of -108 degrees which happened at the same location. These readings factored in wind chill and were a product of a polar vortex – in which barometric pressures as high as 31.30 inches of mercury occurred in the center of a very strong high-pressure cell that sank unusually far to the south from the Earth’s Arctic Circle. 

Normally this high would be stationed north of the U.S.-Canadian border, but a buckle in the west to east jet stream allowed this huge pool of bitter arctic air to become greatly displaced to the south. Remember, this huge high pressure is sitting right on top of a very thick snow cover at the surface up there, thus adding considerably to the very cold air that surrounds this high.

Vorticity is the turning of the atmosphere. It may be embedded in the total flow and not readily identified by a flow pattern. 1. absolute vorticity: The rotation of the earth imparts vorticity to the atmosphere; absolute vorticity is the combined vorticity due to this rotation and vorticity due to circulation relative to the earth; 2. negative vorticity: vorticity caused by anticyclonic turning; it is associated with downward motion of the air; 3. positive vorticity: vorticity caused by cyclonic turning; it is associated with upward motion of the air and 4. relative vorticity: vorticity of the air relative to the Earth, disregarding the component of vorticity resulting from the Earth’s rotation. I think I know how to spell the word vorticity by now.

The upcoming week is looking warm and dry with possible Santana winds that should send temps up into the low to mid 70s and that’s music to my ears.

Have a good week!


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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