When Sunny SoCal isn't

Gloomy weather is a put-off for many who love our weather. But this fog is expected to be 'wimpy.'

June 06, 2010|By Tom Ragan
(Scott Smeltzer )

Tanning salons are picking up business because of it, and some people are getting bummed by too much of it.

It's that same old June gloom, when a marine layer descends over the ocean with too much consistency, and so you get the National Weather Service for Orange County and most of Southern California repeating itself: Patchy fog before 11 a.m. Patchy fog expected to last until the early afternoon. Patchy fog after 11 p.m.

Sometimes, the fog doesn't let up.

Because sunshine is a big draw in California, tourists are sometimes surprised by the gloom. Over Memorial Day weekend, many could be seen "freaking out," while they flocked to the Newport Tanning Club at 19th Street and Harbor Boulevard, employees there said.

"God forbid, you be pasty white around Memorial Day or the Fourth of July," says Karina Hernandez, who works at the club and said she's seen a sudden influx of customers that seems to be in direct correlation with the recent fog.


According to those who are versed in weather patterns — namely, meteorologists — the June gloom in Southern California can actually rear its dreary face as early as mid-May, lending credibility to the term "May Gray."

But May Gray was virtually non-existent last month, as sunny skies and warm temperatures dominated the weather headlines, according to the National Weather Service.

Then, like clockwork, quite literally, a few hours before sunset on Memorial Day the skies turned cloudy and it hasn't let up since, the service reported.

Essentially, the more foggy consecutive days translate into cooler ocean temperatures — a phenomenon we refer to as La Niña. Conversely, fewer foggier days in a row means warmer ocean temperatures, or El Niño.

Diana Henderson, a Monterey Bay meteorologist with the National Weather Service, knows a great deal about the phenomenon of fog, which permeates the Central Coast even more so than in Southern California.

Often, June gloom extends itself into July and August, and at times the sun doesn't actually peak through the layer until the late afternoon.

"For the most part," she says, "there's a cold current that runs off the coast. Everybody knows that as soon as they step into the water and feel it. But about this time of year, the air is slightly warmer than the water itself, and when that happens you have moist air sitting up over the water."

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles