Call This Winter?

Warm temperatures and a few clouds - a typical San Diego winter's day

The new year for us started out very much the way 2009 began, sunny, warm and dry, at least in San Diego.  Much of the rest of the country was blasted by Old Man Winter though;  Minnesota, for example, is mostly in the 20s and 30s - that's minus 20s and 30s, at least overnight with daytime highs only in the single digits.  Here at home, well, we're talking a couple of records - not lows but highs.

On Saturday, the second day of the year, the Wild Animal Park topped the county with an 84, an all-time high for that date.  Still, that's pretty cool when you look back a year.  On Jan. 15, 2009, the park hit 94, it was the hottest spot in the country.  In fact, last January, we saw record temperatures around the county nine times during the month.

What else happened weather-wise in 2009 that's note worthy?  Let's take a quick look back through the National Weather Service archives.

In February things turned cold, wet and snowy. There were a number of rainy days starting around the 5th.  That week brought two inches of rain to areas west of the mountains and twice that to the foothills and lower elevations.  The local mountains got up to three feet of snow at the highest elevations, most of it falling on the 9th.  That same, cold storm produced a waterspout off Encinitas.  By the end of the month, Big Bear was reporting four feet of fresh snow on the ski runs.

March saw a little rain but also the start of the Santa Anas.  In April things got really windy and hot.  On the 19th and 20th a strong off-shore produced 27 record high temperatures in the region.  While the valleys were hitting triple digits and beaches were seeing a few 90s.  This was also the last month we saw any measurable rain and the drought conditions worsened.

Through the summer a couple of quick hitting tropical systems did manage to make an appearance, one in June produced some scattered thunderstorms and remember the hail storm in Del Mar?  July turned out typically warm and dry but one significant event did take place, some unusually large surf.  On the 24th, some of the San Diego beaches saw waves of 12 feet pounding the shoreline but further north at the Wedge in Newport Beach, 20 footers were generated.

August turned hot, dry and windy as Santa Anas really picked up steam.  The Cottonwood, Oak Glen and Pendleton fires burned a combined 4400 acres and cost the state and local agencies millions of dollars to fight.

September 2nd saw a few isolated thunderstorms in the east county and then, on the 5th, a massive storm formed over the mountains and moved over Ocotillo Wells.  The huge "mamatus" clouds stretched over the entire length of the county's mountains and produced flash-flooding, hail and strong winds.  The experts say we came close to seeing a funnel cloud produced.

October remained fairly dry for San Diego though the rest of Southern California got drenched on a couple of occasions.  November too was pretty dry until the last few days of the month when San Diego got hit by a pretty wet storm.  December too was wetter than normal and much wetter than the two previous Decembers and, by the end of the year we were still slightly above normal for seasonal rainfall at Lindbergh Field.

As for temperatures - the hottest day of the year at the airport was 98 during that April heatwave.  The wettest day of the year was the 7th of December when 1.56" fell over downtown.

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