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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
January 10, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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January 10, 2014

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thick concrete walls of the Casino, So when I felt it was safe to do, I From page 1 I reckoned I was in just about the gathered the gumption and left the best place in Avalon I could be un- confines of the projection room. der the circumstances. Looking out one of the windows ~ Over the next few minutes, of the building's east wing, I saw down on Avalon Canyon at that there were no power outages, nor the lights of an Avalon that was very moment and that its "immi- flickering of lights in the Casino, obviously still intact. nent" trajectory was going to take nor anything else to tell me some- Since this event happened in it directly over Avalon. thing terrible was going on out- the midst of an ongoing wind- There, within the two-foot side. storm, most Avalon residents were II !i Fr,day: - Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday || | | Sunny Sunny Mostly Sunny Sunny Mostly SunnyMostly Sunny Sunny || I! 65/53, / _ 68"/54 67/54 71/51 69/51 66/48 68/49 !i |~ -~i~ / Today we will see sunny skies with a high ~ I| I~ ~. e / temperature of 65, humidity of 39%. The ~ AM PM H " J ,,. I | record high temperature for today is 85 set in Fri 8"21-10"217"51-9"51 II 111- 131415im8191'11 +11 1953. Expect mostly clear skies tonight with an Sat 9110-11110 8:40-10:40 II II 0-rJ.ow, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: I overnight low of 53. The record low for tonight Sun 9"58-11"589"28-11"28 || Ik VeryEigh, ll+: Extreme Exposure J is30setin 1949. Saturday, skies will be sunny Mon 10"46-12"46 10"16-12"16 || " [] with a high temperature f 68, humidityf30%' Tue 1i"'30 1"30 li"00 1"~]i |r~--~_w~Normals~3 Skies will be partly cloudy Saturday night with an Wed 11:34~173411704~1704 l[ I| 12/30 6758 64/49 0.00"| overnight low of 54. Expect mostly sunny skies Thu " ----" 11150-1150 || 1112/31 67 53 64149 0100"[ Sunday with a high temperaturef67'Skieswill ~ " " || i11/1 70 53 64149 01()0" I be sunny Mnday with a high temperature f7.1"I_ ~ l| Tuesda skies wdl be mostly sunny with a high 111/2 76 61 64149 0.00"i Y' " 'o ~/ [! I | i/3 70 50 64/490.00" I temperature of 69 . ~l I| ili : , i I !1 1 f4 64 50 641490 00" 111/5 71 55 64/49 0.00" 1 -" _ . " ....... !1 l . - ....... --- -,J Avalon Cat,alma Harbor II I Low II II I F. 5:,2am 2:36 m 6:520m 1:33pm : 7am 2:44pm 6: 7pm II ,orna o "p I Sa, 7:43 m ono . |ldetector? r i Sun 6:3Sam 12:23ar~ 8:22pm l:57pm Sun 6:43am12:31am 8:27pm 2:05pmil I! ...... : " I Mon 7:14aml:04am 8:54pm 2:29pmMon 7719aml:12am 8:59pm 2:37pmII - Tue 7:47 am1:40 am 9:22 pm 2:58 pm Tue 7:52 am1:48 am 9:27 pm 3:06 pm 11~:~7~"q W~ ,:,8am2:14am 9:49pm 3:26pm Wed 8:23am 2:22am ~.'54pm 3:34pmI! ,,arl t,.s W ql I1 - snow was reportedI ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ II Ilatsan Die Q eo the eir t and onlyl vri 6:57a.m. 5:04p.m. :07p.m. 2:14a.m. i n,,, II IIc, sinc 1882. snow was notedl sat 6:57a.m. 5:05p.m. 1:50p.m. 3:09a.m. II II ofthehea sinpa,'tsl 6:57a.m. 5:06p.m. 2:36p.m. 4:01a.m.--- H 1 1 ~..~1..~ u .... li#~n I Mon 6:57 a.m.5:07 p.m.3:24 p.m:4:5t a.m. II ~.t (d~'Tue 6:56a.m.5:08p.m.4:15p.m.5:37a.m. f)~Firstr ||an~LongBeaehan~La~unaaeachI UZ4~ Wed 6:56a.m.5:09p.m.5:08p.m.6:19a.mJ ,~.,~ 2/611 apparently oblivious to the late night visitor. But a number of stories were circulating the next day, including one from a friend of mine who lived on a boat in the harbor. Right about the time that the beast was passing over Avalon, he was awakened by that characteris- tic "freight train" roar and a violent rocking of his 35-foot yawl the Perdida. Suddenly, he. said, the entire boat lifted off the water and then slowly rolled nearly on her beam with the mast parallel to the surface of the water. The Perdida Jim Watson then righted herself Oolumnist again once the danger had passed. Thought technically not a tor- nado (since it fortunately didn't touch down) it was nevertheless a close call not only for my friend and the Perdida, but for the town of Avalon. That was during the winter of 2004, the evening of Dec. 28, to be exact, in the midst of the same storm that saw a similar tornado pass very close to the Airport-in- the-Sky. Fast forward now to the follow- ing October and another surreal experience I had with a local tor- nado (actually a waterspout in this case). The day was warm and sunny and I was walking along Via Casi- no Way from the Casino into town in my shorts and flip-flops. There had been no violent storms of late and the wind was practically non- existent. I looked out into the-channel and saw an oddly-shaped cloud about halfway across the chan- nel-the only .cloud in the sky. Beneath this cloud, however, was a sight I'll never forget: twisting and v~rithing from the surface of the sea was a colossal waterspout. Although it was a good 10 miles away, I could clearly see the sides of its thick trunk glistening in the sun like scales on an enormous serpent. At its base, the ocean's surface was spraying what seemed to be hundreds of feet into the air. The phantom cyclone didn't last long and in less than a minute the twister lost its mid-section and be- gan flailing apart. Within five minutes, there wasn't a trace of it left. Like all of our local "natural disasters," torna- dos and waterspouts are exceedingly rare. Before you go digging a basement under your Eucalyptus Street home, be advised that no one has ever been killed on Catalina by a tornado. In fact, to my. knowledge, no local tor- nado has ever even caused signifi- cant damage. One of the reasons that our lo- cal tornados and waterspouts are so feeble compared to their power- ful cousins in the Midwest involves the mechanics behind their forma- tion. Midwestern tornadoes tend to be borne of the violent clash of cold arctic air coming down from Canada mixing it up with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexi- 'co. Our local twisters, on the other hand, tend to be the result of local- ized winds swirling and eddying around the Channel Islands, in- cluding Ours Truly, Catalina. The localized nature of these forma- tive winds also explains why these phenomena have a life expectancy of only minutes as opposed to the multi-hour tornadoes of the Mid- west. Catalina Island I0ves its v'iSi- tors. But tornados andwaterspouts are the kinds of visitors we can do without. Jim Watson is the author of "Mysterious Island: Catalina," available at Amazon, Kindle and in stores all over Avalon. "lannin~ h~dc~ Ru t cat ioni~l l or(~ca~l l,;l~| \Vt'i:k'~, Tides This Week ~ealher Trivia .~ilni/:~cloon (;llarl This Week NEWPORT BEACH TO CATALINA 800-880-'/744 Departs Balboa Pavilion 9am / Return from Avalon departs 4:30pm 8 i Friday, January 10, 2014 THE CATAUNA ISLANDER