Cambrian: Opinion

Autumn in Cambria brings full moon sets over the ocean

One of Cambria’s main attractions is the temperate weather we enjoy all year-round. A study of Cambria’s weather pattern has been put together utilizing the past 16 years of temperature data as recorded at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Park Hill and reported weekly in the Cambrian.   

This data, combined with a subjective evaluation of the type of day that Cambria experiences, (sunny, partly sunny, cloudy and rainy) contributes to the following report. A clear day is defined as clear skies from early morning to sunset. A partial clear day means that the fog or clouds clear out during the day, followed by sunshine for the remainder of the day (or vice versa).   

Since this evaluation is conducted at or near the ocean, where fog and low clouds are more prevalent than in all other parts of town, the temperatures and weather information reflect lower temperatures than one might expect to see across the many microclimates within Cambria. The weather year starts in July and ends in June. (Weather year 2016 began in July 2015 and ends in June 2016.) 

Fall 2015

The fall season (October, November and December) should bring Cambria some of its most beautiful Indian summer weather, as well as some much-needed rain. We can expect clear, sunny days almost half the time, with approximately 12 rainy days giving us 6 inches of rain.

The Eastern Pacific high is the predominant weather feature along the West Coast, which creates an area of high pressure over the Central Coast. This clockwise circulation brings cooler air from the Gulf of Alaska, often producing a persistent marine layer during the summer. During the winter months, this onshore flow generally keeps temperatures mild.

The windiest time of the day is normally in the afternoon, and the least windy time is at night. The day time heating is what causes our local breezes from the ocean. As the land heats up, the heavier ocean air moves in to replace the rising air over land and the wind increases.

According to Marilyn Von Savant (who writes for Parade magazine) air temperature has no effect on the strength of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches the ground. UV rays cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer.  The major factors are the time of day, the elevation of the location, the cloud cover, and the thickness of the ozone layer over the area. 

If you want the highest air temperature at beaches on the Central Coast, you would want to go to Cayucos or Avila Beach, which are southwesterly facing beaches. Cambria, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach are a few degrees cooler as they are westerly facing beaches.  Morro Bay, Los Osos and Nipomo have the lowest air temperatures and are northwesterly facing beaches. 

Cambrians should take advantage of “full moon sets” over the ocean during the fall season. Your best viewing will be 45 minutes to an hour before the sun comes up, when the moon has an orange color. 

Check the Cambrian to verify the right time to watch the moon set over the ocean. Also make sure that it is a fogless/cloudless morning and bring a jacket or sweater.


Below are the weather conditions for an average week in the fall:

  • 3 days per week — Clear, sunny days.
  • 2 days per week — Early morning fog, followed by partial clearing and sun.
  • 1 day per week — No sun (cloudy and foggy all day).
  • 1 day per week — Rain.
Weather quiz

1. What is the windiest time of the day? 

  • A. Morning 
  • B. Afternoon 
  • C. Evening

2. According to John Lindsey, PG&E meteorologist, the Eastern Pacific high is the predominant weather feature along the West Coast. The question is: Does this Pacific high provide the Central Coast with both cooler air conditions during the summer and milder conditions during the winter?

  • A. True
  • B. False

3. How much rain can we expect to receive in the fall? (October, November and December)?

  • A. 2 inches — 4 rainy days
  • B. 4 inches — 8 rainy days 
  • C. 6 inches — 12 rainy days
  • D. 8 inches — 16 rainy days

4. If you wanted to go to the beach on the Central Coast that reflects the highest air temperature, where would you go? 

  • A. Morro Bay or Los Osos
  • B. Cambria or Pismo Beach
  • C. Cayucos or Avila Beach

5. Is the risk of sunburn greater when the air temperature is 90 degrees as compared to when the temperature is 60 degrees? All other conditions are identical. 

  • A. True
  • B. False

Weather quiz answers: B,  A, C, C, B