Thermal breaks heat record, Palm Springs ties record — again

Thermal broke a heat record Monday, and Palm Springs tied the record for hottest-ever April 29.


The temperature peaked at 106 degrees in Thermal by about 2:30 p.m. That beats the previous heat record for the day, which was 105 degrees set in 1959.

It hit 106 degrees in Palm Springs — the second weather measuring station in the Coachella Valley — as well. That tied the day’s record of 106 degrees, also set in 1959.

The National Weather Service shows the temperature as dramatically warmer than the normals for the day — 88 in Palm Springs and 91 in Thermal.

It continues an unusually hot stretch of weather, which included records being broken on Sunday and the hottest-ever Stagecoach Festival.

The valley will see a slight cooling down starting Tuesday, with projected highs between 92 and 97 degrees.

Palm Springs weather heats up, Thermal breaks record

Palm Springs

Weather forecast as seen at 10:10 a.m. March 14.

Thermal hit a record high of 97 degrees on Wednesday.

That edged out the previous March 13 record of 96 degrees, which had been set in 1997, according to the National Weather Service.

That compares to the normal of 81 degrees.

Meanwhile, temperature hit 95 degrees at the Palm Springs International Airport, the second weather station in the valley.

That was 17 degrees warmer than normal, but shy of the record of 98 degrees set in 2007.

Temperatures on Thursday could hit near the day’s record of 96 degrees set March 14, 1972.

“It’s going to be pretty darn close to the record,” meteorologist Ken Clark said late Thursday morning. “I could see that being reached or even surpassed.”

While Southern California has been the hottest place in the nation, temperatures will gradually begin dropping to a projected high of 87 degrees by Sunday, Clark said.

Temperatures in the valley could drop back down to normal — and even cooler than normal — within the next 10 days, Clark said.


And so it begins . . . the Humana Challenge

It’s a brisk and breezy morning at PGA west this morning, with a cold wind cutting through the practice range as players like Bill Haas, D.J. Trahan and others begin preparations for the Humana Challenge in Partnership with the Clinton Foundation. But everyone seems in pretty good cheer about the weather, because they know that by Thursday, the first day of the real tournament, forecasts are for mid-70s and sunny and beautiful.

Gary Player, new to the event this year with a new contract with Humana to promote health and wellness, has been working the driving ranges saying hello to amateurs and pros alike. Someone mentioned that Player is a true charmer.

The Couples pro-am at the Nicklaus Private course today was delayed by the weather, but there will be play in that event today.

Otherwise, work is at making sure tents are up in Hope Square before crowds start showing up on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Four new names into the pro field today are Alister Presnell, Patrick Reed, Doug La Belle and Bobby Gates. That brings the field to 156 officially. The first alternate at the moment is Jim Herman.

2013 may be off to a frosty start for the Coachella Valley

Desert frostParty-goers flocking to Palm Springs for New Year’s Eve festivities may want to add a few layers. On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a frost advisory for the Coachella Valley from midnight through 9 a.m. January 1, 2013.

According to the advisory, temperatures could fall below freezing tonight across inland valleys and lower deserts with lows in the mid-20s possible.

While revelers can keep warm inside, homeowners may want to protect sensitive plants which could be damaged or killed if left uncovered.

Low-lying areas of gardens are at more risk than plants set atop berms. According to, newspapers, plastic tarbs, sheets, glass jars, milk jugs and upside-down paper cups can be used to protect sensitive plants. Just remember to remove them in the morning to avoid having them act as ovens once the sun is shining.

Worst summer ever for golf?

Okay, every year someone pops up and says, gee, this is the worst summer I can remember. Every year, we think the temperatures were higher than ever before, the humidity was worse than ever, the summer lasted longer, the nights never cooled down.

Heck, if we live in the desert year-round, it is our right to complain about the weather. The people who don’t have that right are the folks who spend the summer in Seattle or Vancouver or Chicago. Because we are the ones who get to play golf in the desert heat.

That’s being said, I’ve had three people tell me in the last 24 hours that they are convinced this was the worst summer they can recall for golf in the Coachella Valley. The combination of 110-degree days and humidity that pushed dew points into the 70s was enough to drive people indoors from any outdoor activity, and that included golf.

But, as tends to happen ever year around this time, the temperatures have broken. Predictions for the next three days are that the high for the day in the desert won’t reach 90. And nighttime temperatures will reach the 60s, which is great for golf courses undergoing overseeding and want that rye grass to germinate and grow fast.

Unfortunately for desert golfers, the now-perfect golf weather comes when many courses are still closed for the overseeding period. Yes, there are a few courses that have already re-opened and there are a few courses that haven’t closed yet, waiting for the better weather. But just when you can feel that cool breeze on your cheek in the morning, there are few places you can play.

It will be another three weeks before almost every course in the desert re-opens. You might be itching to get out on the course, but for now, the break in the weather cna make you happy and get you thinking about November golf.


Today’s “Big Stink” could be harbinger of smelly things to come

A surprisingly large portion of Southern California got an unpleasant encounter with “The Big Stink” on Monday, a rotten-egg-like smell emanating from the Salton Sea following a strong, windy storm Sunday night.

Those not used to the Sea’s occasional foul smells were calling 911 in Los Angeles County to report it, according to media reports, and it was smelled as far away as Simi Valley in Ventura County.

Get used to it, said Desert Hot Springs City Manager Rick Daniels, the former executive director of the Salton Sea Authority. Such waves of stench may become far more common region-wide, he said.

“This is just the beginning,” he said.

“If the State does not implement the Salton Sea Restoration Plan as required by the Agreement for the Use of the Colorado River and the Sea dies, this odor will be an everyday occurrence somewhere in SoCal depending upon which way the wind blows.”

Timothy Krantz, a professor in the University of Redlands’ Environmental Studies Program who studies the troubled lake, said the smell comes not from dead fish necessarily, but from accumulated sulphur dioxide stored up in the sea’s depths as algae blooms and then decays.

“The Sea accumulates sulphur dioxide at depth during the summer months,” he said. “Then, when we get a wind event, such as yesterday’s southeasterly ‘Chubasco’ blowing up from the Gulf of California, it pushes the surface waters off, causing upwelling of the bottom sulphurous water layers, hence the rotten egg smell.  One more reason why we need to ‘fix’ the Sea.”

Compounding the event, Krantz added, was that the sulphur dioxide was able to build up over time, and the evaporating sea’s declining depths — at its peak it was up to 51 feet deep but now is only around 43 feet deep — make it easier for that deeper water layer holding back the rotten-egg smell to come to the surface.

“Shades of things to come?” he said.  “At least it’s not laden with PM10 or micro-particulates.  That would be worse.  But for now, its just smelly.”

A few leftover thoughts from the weekend of golf

Just a few thoughts figured out in between switching around from football game to football game . ..

—Between the football games, an Angels day game, the U.S. Open Women’s tennis finals, the BMW Champions on the PGA Tour and an epic playoff on the LPGA Tour, one single television in my living room was just an epic fail.

—Let all discussion about whether Rory McIlroy is the real deal end now. That’s six wins on the PGA Tour for the Northern Irish star, including two majors. This year alone he has four wins on the PGA Tour, he leads the PGA Tour and the European Tour in earnings and he has three wins in his last four starts. The wins at the PGA Championship and two wins in PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoff events. The last month or so, McIlroy has been, dare we say, Tiger-esque.

—After going eight holes in a playoff yesterday that was eventually suspended by darkness, it took Jiyai Shin just 20 minutes to defeat Paula Creamer in the Kingsmill Championship this morning. Shin pared the par-4 16th to start the morning, while Creamer three-putted for a bogey. Creamer also three-putted the final hole or regulation to drop into the playoff with Shin. Neither player has won since 2010, and Creamer would have been an extremely popular winner. But Shin is one of the most-liked player on the tour, and now has nine wins on the LPGA just like Creamer. Shin has hand surgery in June, so this was an important win for her.

—Tiger Woods continued to produce at least two really good rounds of golf a week. Unfortunately, he continued to have at least one round where he just kind of drifts off and is on the outer fringes of relevance for 18 holes. At the BMW Championship, it was the third round, A strong week of play for Woods, but McIlroy is better right now.

—Is there a player who has been written off more in his career than Phil Mickelson? He was never going to win a major, then he won three from 2004 to 2006. He was never going to win again after blowing the 2006 U.S. Open, but of course he did win again, even winning another major. He was irrelevant at the start of the year, then shot 64 at Pebble Beach the final round to beat Tiger Woods and the rest of the field. He was finished this summer when he couldn’t break par it seemed. Now he’s been fourth and tied for second in the last two FedEx Cup events the last two weeks. Of courser, now that we expect something from Phil at the Tour Championship this week, He probably won’t make the top 10. But you never know with Phil.

–Tough to watch Bill Haas throw away his chance at defending the Tour Championship with three bogeys in his closing five holes Sunday. That dropped him out of the top 30 in points and eliminated him from the FedEx Cup playoffs.

—The last two weeks on the FedEx Cup playoff run, McIlroy, Woods and Mickelson has finished in the top four. That trio has never finished in the top five of a tournament together before two weeks ago.

—And just in case you though I was not going to mention the weird weather Sunday night, here’s a house I pass on my way out of my neighborhood,


As Popeye would say, "Well, blow me down!" (Larry Bohannan)


El Nino back this winter?

It’s not a sure thing, but make sure your windshield wipers are in working order, just in case.

Forecasters monitoring Pacific Ocean temperatures say there’s a better than 50 percent — and rising — chance that an El Niňo weather pattern is coming this winter. That typically means a mild winter for the northern U.S. and greater than usual amounts of rain here in the Coachella Valley.

View the story here.

Kraft Day 3: And the desert/sports weather problem continues

So let’s get this straight. at the Humana Challenge, the wind was so strong they had to suspend play in the third round.

At the BNP Paribas Open tennis event, there was a three-hour rain delay for a Roger Federer match.

And today we are in discussions about suspending play if the wind gets much stronger.

What exactly is wrong with the sports/weather connection in the desert this year?

No suspension yet, and the LPGA is saying until balls start moving on greens or things start fly through the air (like a house in Kansas), they won’t suspend play.

Yani Tseng is 2 under for the day through 5 holes and doesn’t seem to know the wind is blowing,



Kraft Day 1: Perfect today, windy this weekend

Here’s a quick weather update for the week of the Kraft Nabisco.

Today, it will be wonderful, with highs in the mid-80s and little windy.

Friday, temperatures could touch 90, which would still be 10 degrees cooler than the same time last year.

Saturday, there is a chance of winds coming in late in the day, but that could be after play ends. Those winds are expected to hang around until Sunday morning. Just how hard they will hit Mission Hills is a mystery. But around the freeway and the pass, the winds are expected to be pretty strong.  The winds could die down in the afternoon.