For those of us who have grown up in Southern California, we are used to hearing the term “June Gloom”. The TV weather person will no doubt use the term this year too. It refers to the gloomy overcast that seems to last for weeks sometimes.
When you think about it, it’s funny that in most of the country June usually brings about the beginning of summer like warmer weather, while in so called sunny California we get this cool drizzly overcast gloomy weather pattern.
So why does this happen? There’s a scientific explanation which attributes this to the intense heating of inland areas, such as the Central Valley and Mojave Desert which sets up a broad area of low pressure known as a thermal low. At the same time there’s a high-pressure zone over the Pacific Ocean. This develops a pressure gradient which pushes the cooler ocean air into the inland areas. The resulting marine layer is deep and moist, sometimes turning into light showers or drizzle.
Although this weather pattern is associated with the month of June, it isn’t limited to that month. The phenomenon is an early summer event which can manifest anywhere from May to July, and sometimes even into August. It is most recognizable as “June Gloom” but there are other references such as “May Gray”, “No Sky July”, and sometimes “Fogust”.
For Southern California’s beach communities, May and June together are usually the cloudiest months of the year. June gloom is stronger in years associated with “La Nina” and weaker or nonexistent in years with an “El Nino.
Southern California enjoys some of the best weather in the world and those of us who grew up here have learned to accept the June gloom because it is a sign that soon we will have all the sunshine we can deal with.