Thermometers hovering in the 80s, light breezes, hot sun, blue sky and sea, spectacular sunrises and kaleidoscopic sunsets … in January.
While that’s not unheard of on the North Coast, it is unusual.
Temperatures at Whispering Pines climbed to 78 on Saturday and hit 81 on Sunday.
“If it wasn’t for the shortness of the days, one would think that it’s summer,” PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey wrote in his Monday, Jan. 26, forecast.
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Sunday, Jan. 25, the high at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport was 85 — a full 5 degrees higher than the record for the date, set just last year. Paso Robles also set a record, reaching 77, while Cayucos, Morro Bay and Los Osos each checked in at 83, Lindsey reported.
Happy people were out and about in droves Jan. 24 and 25, enjoying the unseasonable weather as they packed into Cambria’s Art & Wine Festival, or headed for the shore to search for “moonstones,” dip a toe into the sea and watch sizeable waves, surfers and marine life aplenty, including “beta” male elephant seals jousting at San Simeon Cove.
Mary Ann Carson, executive director of the Cambia Chamber of Commerce, said attendance was on par with previous years at the 13th annual Art and Wine Festival, sponsored jointly by the chamber and Allied Arts Association. The tent outside the Cambria Historical Museum, which opened for wine tasting at noon, was packed with visitors a half-hour later.
“The weather was beautiful,” Carson said Tuesday, Jan 27. “I have not run the figures yet, but there had to have been 600 people there. Due to the weather, a lot of people were out there having a good time.”
It’s not fair to gloat about gorgeous weather, though, not when so much of the country is battling thoroughly miserable, blizzard-packed winter weather, with all the accompanying hazards.
The bad-news flip side to the North Coast coin is, of course, the lack of significant rain in the forecast. Clouds, yes. Rain, no, at least not in 10-day online prognostications at press deadline on Tuesday, Jan. 27. (A weak subtropical storm system moving up from Baja left the ground damp Tuesday morning but didn’t produce anything remotely resembling a downpour.)
So, keep those shower-water buckets handy. The drought’s not over yet, according to Cambria water purveyors.
And if you see an elephant seal, remember it’s a protected species, so keep your distance. It can move a lot faster than you might think it can, and elephant seals have been known to bite humans.