Geez, it seems like we never have heat waves anymore. At least not
since mid-August to early September ’98.
Of course the holiday weekend was doomed for the gloom. It chased
everybody off the beach by 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
By 4:30 p.m., it was bumper to bumper northbound Coast Highway all the
way back to Moss Point; it wasn’t much better on Glenneyre Street, where
it was backed up to Thalia Street. And Catalina Street was backed up to
Cleo Street. Park Avenue was backed up to Wendt Terrace! All the while I
was flying past on my mountain bike yelling, “Enjoy the gridlock,
suckers!” It took them 15 minutes to get where it took me a minute and a
Getting back to the subject at hand -- our past three summers have
been markedly cooler than normal, and this one seems headed that way,
too, although summer is still young, with average high temperatures and
lows falling four degrees short on both ends.
The spread is even greater in downtown Los Angeles. The average high
in the first week of July has been 77.2 degrees, compared to the normal
of 84 degrees. The average low has been a cool 60.3 degrees, well below
the normal of 64.8 degrees.
Long sleeve cotton T-shirts become necessary after dark, and some guy
even asked us at Taco Loco the other night to bring out one of our
propane heaters for the outside dining patio on the cafe side.
Last summer, Downtown Los Angeles averaged a high of only 79.8 degrees
and a low of 61.2, with several nights even dipping into the high 50s. A
couple times in the canyon it got down to 50, 51 degrees on clear nights.
In Los Angeles, it only hit 90 degrees three times in ’99, twice in
2000 and once last year.
Compare that to the summers of ’90, ’92, ’94, ’96, ’97 and ’98, when
it was 87.8 degrees and 67.9 degrees on the average in Los Angeles and
where 90 degrees was exceeded 20 to 30 times!
The 100 mark was surpassed all of the summers I just listed.
However, not since ’98. We’ve never gone more than three consecutive
summers with such cool temps, and so far this one’s number four.
Another pattern has been the noticeable lack of thunderstorm activity
in the mountains and desert areas since ’98, which was an active one. Of
course, it was the tail end of El Nino.
Now, we discover at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, is a new player called the North-South oscillation, which
transpires when neither an El Nino or La Nino exists that given year.
I mean last year we got 15 inches of rain at the peak of a La Nina --
and then a scant 4 1/3 inches this year when we’re supposed to be in
transition or somewhere in the middle, but apparently this newly tagged
north-south deal comes in to play, triggering a persistent storm-shunting
high pressure ridge off the California coast.
In closing -- this last sentence is being written at 10 a.m., and it’s
Monday and it’s sunny, of course, because the Fourth of July weekend is
* DENNIS MCTIGHE is a Laguna Beach resident.