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Storms May Bring Glimpse of Clear Skies : Weather: Showers today are expected to generate a brief break in the clouds and fog that have persisted since May.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Thundershowers and gusty winds in the mountains of northern Ventura County are expected to bring a brief respite this weekend from the persistent fog that has shrouded coastal areas during the summer.

The scattered storms expected by early today should be followed by slightly warmer temperatures and mostly clear skies across the county this afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologists said.

But the clear afternoon skies are forecast to turn hazy by Saturday. And by Sunday, cool weather should return during the day, with the low clouds or fog that have persisted in the county all summer.

“We don’t keep records on foggy days,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Ronald Hamilton. “But I would bet that if this isn’t a record for the most foggy days in a summer, it’s quite close to becoming one.”

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Typically, fog persists during June and July along coastal areas of Southern California, but it has obscured the sun this year along the coast from May through August.

If the pattern continues into October, a wetter-than-normal winter could result, Hamilton said.

Hamilton said the mountain thunderstorms, expected to leave less than half an inch of rain in Ventura County, are part of a weather system that moved north from Mexico.

The cloudy and foggy summer weather has left many wondering whether summer somehow eluded Ventura County.

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During June, July and August, the county recorded the lowest average daytime temperatures in 25 years, said John Weikel, a county Flood Control Department hydrologist.

On a few days, temperatures have reached into the 90s in Simi Valley and Moorpark, traditionally the hottest areas of the county. But they have generally been three to five degrees below normal for this time of year, records show.

But Weikel noted that the dreary weather has a positive side.

“This has minimized the need for irrigation,” he said. “This weather does nothing to replenish ground water, but it does reduce evaporation.”

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The Calleguas Municipal Water District, which serves 450,000 residents and about 550 farmers, reported that water use is substantially under what it was last summer. The district serves the warm Simi Valley, Moorpark and Thousand Oaks areas. It also has customers in the cooler Camarillo and Oxnard areas.

Calleguas delivered 24,932 acre-feet of water during June, July and August compared with 32,786 acre-feet during the same period a year ago and 34,057 acre-feet in 1989. This reflects a decrease of 24% compared with 1990, when water conservation first became mandatory, and of 27% from 1989, Calleguas officials said.

“The weather has been a big factor, in addition to the conservation campaign,” said Eric Berg, conservation coordinator for the district.

The cooler weather also has kept smog levels low this summer. Normally, the summer months are the smoggiest of the year, said Kent Field, Ventura County Air Pollution Control District meteorologist.

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Field said Simi Valley failed federal air-quality standards 18 days so far this year, compared with a five-year average of 25 days for the first eight months of the year.

Ventura has violated federal standards once this year, which is on par with its five-year average. But in the Ojai Valley, air has been in line with federal standards every day this year. The valley’s air normally violates the standards twice by this time of year, based on the five-year average.


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