Most of Alaska has just concluded the warmest November on record,
and with more than a third of December already over, the trend
With the exception of a touch of snow in mid-October, there’s been
no white stuff.
At this writing, lawns and grasses are still green in Anchorage!
And there are no ponds to ice skate on, because they’re still
water, not ice!
Fairbanks’ lowest temp so far is 9 degrees above zero! Normally,
by now, their high temp doesn’t even break zero!
And considering how low the sun is in those latitudes, and the
sparse sun time they have now that it’s almost the shortest day of
the year (Anchorage today, Dec. 9; sunrise 9:22 a.m., sunset 2:32
p.m.), that’s an amazing amount of warmth.
The rainy season cranks it up in December with a normal of 2.65
inches here in Laguna.
So far, we’ve had nothing this month. Our total for the 2002-03
season is roughly 1.70 inches. Normal to date is 2.95 inches.
Who can forget the Biblical downpour of Dec. 6 and 7, 1997, when
8.18 inches fell in a 24-hour period.
To put things in perspective, that 24-hour total was nearly twice
the amount we got all last season!
More than 37 inches poured out of the skies that 1997-98 season,
capped by the ridiculous total of 14.02 inches in February 1998.
The only wetter month in history was January 1969, with its 18.81
Laguna has exceeded 30 inches five times since we were
incorporated as a city in 1927.
Wave-wise, no complaints. It’s been a very generous six weeks.
Since early November, we’ve been blessed with an ongoing series of
severe angle (305-310 degree) northwest swells.
Even Laguna’s winter breaks have been good ‘cause of the favorable
direction and intervals.
Unlike the 16- to 20-second west-northwests that close out most
Laguna spots, the waves have taken on a steep, short interval (12 to
15 seconds), lighting up Thalia Reef with overhead rides all the way
to the Palapa at Hakima’s.
The Queen of the Coast last Friday was 10 to 12 feet from
Indicators, near Bates Road, all the way to the inside cove.
Blacks in La Jolla was triple overhead the same day.
And the water temp is still a manageable 60 to 62 degrees, way up
from the numbing 53 to 55 degrees of the past four Decembers.
But we’re still waiting for the real white stuff in our local
I think we’ll get dumped on pretty good after New Year’s -- the
“Pineapple Express” is lurking.
* DENNIS McTIGHE is a Laguna Beach resident. He earned a
bachelor’s in earth sciences from UCSD and was a U.S. Air Force
weatherman at Hickman AFB, Hawaii.