Boaters’ Weather

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After the rain this week, the sun will return today for the weekend with the chance of Santa Ana winds blowing out to sea.  The coastal air temperatures this weekend will warm up into the high 70s, and on the water, the air temperatures will drop by 5 or 10 degrees.

You can expect morning fog to return along the coast, but we should have mostly sunny skies this weekend for your outdoor activities and boating.  If you are going boating, keep a sharp lookout for debris that has been washed into the harbor and ocean from the rains. Those in the harbor might still feel the affect of the rain runoff creating a current from the Back Bay to the mouth of the harbor.

Sailors can expect afternoon winds from the west at about 10 knots, but if the Santa Ana winds kick up then look out for 20 knots from the north.

Normally, you can predict Santa Ana winds by making a few observations, such as looking to see if the jets are landing in a reverse flight pattern into John Wayne Airport by flying in over the Back Bay. If so, then there is an inversion layer that has a high probability of dropping down to ground level. When you got up in the morning, or even later that day, if you noticed a very dry humidity with usually warm air, that’s further indication that you should make preparations should the winds hit while you are underway.

In a future column, I will explain how the Santa Ana winds are created and why the winds are warm and dry.

The swells will decrease, with mid-San Pedro Channel about 1 foot as the low pressure system leaves the area, so it will be like a pond on the ocean.  Wind waves will be 1 foot and if the Santa Ana winds arrive, then expect the wind waves to increase four-fold.  The ocean temperatures will remain in the mid-60s – the Dana Point buoy was reading 66 degrees this week.

As always, with an eye to the north, boaters off Point Conception will experience west-northwest swells of approximately 4 feet with west-northwest winds over 20 knots and possible gale warnings, thus the swells’ intervals should move into the single digits.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend, and always check the sea and weather conditions before you leave the dock.


Safe Voyages,

Mike Whitehead, Capt.

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