Summer Breeze Makes You Feel Fine — In November
Locals often refer to fall on the Central Coast as summer. They are not really right, of course, but they aren’t wrong either. Today (November 7th) in Pismo has a high of 79 degrees compared with a normal November high of 69, and yesterday was 82, with sun splashing over everything. It may say ‘fall’ on the calendar, but it sure feels ‘summer’ on your shoulders.
Of course, Pismo is not noted for its wild variations in weather. Our average daily highs range from 65 degrees in January all the way up to 73 in September. That big ocean out the front door keeps everything moderate, and the normal northwesterly breeze makes sure that we are cooler than inland areas in summer and warmer in winter.
So what’s up with the summertime temperatures along the coast in fall?
Well, it actually is a summer breeze. When conditions are right, we get a strong offshore wind out of the east, and it carries the warmer temperatures of the interior with it. In fact, these winds gather even more warmth as they travel down the slopes of the coastal range and out to sea. Locally, we call these downslope winds the ‘Santa Lucia winds’ because that’s the name of the mountain range; in Southern Cal, they have the Santa Anas that work the same way.
A commercial fisherman friend of ours recently went out to sea in one of these warm spells, with the offshore wind behind him. He reported that not far out, certainly within 10 miles of shore, he found the usual northwesterly wind with its cool temperatures all of a sudden, just like turning a switch. You go from t-shirt to hoodie, gloves and hat in a couple hundred yards.
If your inner geek wants to know more about these winds,
follow local PG&E meterologist John Lindsey, who writes a weekly weather column for the Tribune. John has tried to teach us about how down-slope winds (‘katabatic winds’) gain warmth (well, it’s ‘adiabatic heating,’ obviously!) and lose humidity (that ‘orographic lift’ of course). Luckily, John can translate into ordinary English.
Or you can do what the locals do, and just enjoy it.
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