Weekend Weather Wows: 'Gloomageddon' hits Los Angeles

Welcome to our new weekly feature, "Weekend Weather Wows," where we'll go back and find the most exciting tidbits of weather you might have missed over the past week, so you'll be ready to impress at the water cooler (or virtual water cooler) come Monday.

LOS ANGELES Is Los Angeles the definitive answer to the question of who has the best weather in the U.S.? Recently, it's become more of a gray area…

Welcome to our new weekly feature, "Weekend Weather Wows," where we'll go back and find the most exciting tidbits of weather you might have missed over the past week, so you'll be ready to impress at the water cooler (or virtual water cooler) come Monday.

Sleepless in Los Angeles?

First it rained more in the winter in Los Angeles than it did in Seattle thanks to all those atmospheric rivers. Now we’re mere weeks away from summer and … LA still can’t shake Seattle’s climate.

Thursday marked 13 consecutive days of officially cloudy weather at Los Angeles’ LAX Airport – defined as 80% or more cloud cover during daylight hours. Seven of those days have featured 100% cloud cover. They broke the streak Friday with a day of… 70% cloudiness. Let's hear it for "partly sunny!"

Yes, LAX is near the water where the marine clouds hang out, but even farther inland in downtown Los Angeles, they’ve had four consecutive days socked in with clouds this week and eight of the last 14 days were considered cloudy – with a lone 60% cloudy day their "best" score of the fortnight.

Cloudy days in late spring and early summer are not unusual for coastal Southern California – they call it "May Gray," which heads into "June Gloom." The sun is warm, but ocean waters are still in the 50s and low 60s, which cools the air into fog and nightly onshore marine breezes carry the fog and clouds inland.  


The sun will gradually burn through in the afternoon, only to have the fog reappear overnight.

But even by LA standards this has to feel gloomier than usual. The average daily cloud cover near the beaches at LAX this month through Friday is 72.7% - much cloudier than last year’s 46.7% in May. 

Even going farther inland to the USC/downtown campus, the average cloud cover is 62.3% this month.

Seattle’s cloud cover average so far this May? 58.8%.  Los Angeles is also still about a half inch ahead of Seattle in rainfall since Oct. 1.

A race against the elements: Who would win?

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, which means it’s also time to showcase some of the fastest race cars on the planet at the annual running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Nature continues to showcase the raw power of its atmospheric engines with Super Typhoon Mawar churning along in the Pacific Ocean.

Thursday evening, the typhoon was estimated to have sustained winds of 180 mph with gusts as high as 225 mph! The sustained wind rates Mawar as tied for the second-strongest typhoon for any May, behind the 185 mph estimated sustained wind speed for Typhoon Phyllis in 1958.


Just how fast is 225 mph? Mawar’s wind gusts could have qualified for the Indianapolis 500 two years ago (provided it knew to make the required left turns). In 2009’s race, it would have held the pole position! Keep that in mind as you watch the cars zoom around the track Sunday. 

Happy birthday, Alice!

Thursday marked the 70-year anniversary of the first hurricane given a female name, kicking off a new practice for ease of communication that still lives on today. On May 25, 1953, a tropical storm that formed near Nicaragua was given the name Alice. 

The National Hurricane Center would use female-only names for 25 years, eventually alternating with male names for storms in the Eastern Pacific in 1978, and then for the Atlantic basin storms in 1979.

Today, the World Meteorological Association maintains six lists of hurricane names that rotate through each year. 


If a storm causes great damage or significant loss of life, the name will be retired and replaced with a new name of the same first letter.

Am I hot or not?

How hot is too hot? 90? 85? 80?

According to Alaska Climatologist Brian Brettschneider, it’s 75 degrees.

In a related note, according to his criteria, the South spends much of year just simply too hot. He calculated much of the south has more than 200 days annually over the too hot mark.

His hometown of Anchorage averages about six days at 75 or warmer.

What about places he finds with days too cold? Nope…

Other Weather Wow-y Tidbits

  • On Monday and Tuesday, Fargo, North Dakota hit 91 and 93 degrees, respectively. It was the first time Fargo has had multiple days in the 90s in May since 2018.
  • In neighboring South Dakota the town of Mitchell – home to the wonderful Corn Palace – is in jeopardy of having their driest meteorological spring (March 1-May 31). The town as 2.17" of rain since March 1 and the record-driest spring is 2.39 inches set in 1925.
  • In neighboring Nebraska, it was too much rain as strong thunderstorms parked over the town of Stratton, triggering a Flash Flood Emergency. The storm dropped 5.32 inches of rain in three hours! The storms would drop more than 6 inches on the day which accounts of about a third of their annual average rainfall.  That kind of rainfall rate would equate to about a 1-500 to 1-1,000 year event probability.

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