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Sunset craze takes hold

Posted: Monday, Jan 6th, 2014

A woman takes in the last moments of sunlight recently at Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian and Valerie Lemke)

APTOS — As stories of arctic conditions continue in many parts of the country, here along the Central Coast residents have been experiencing beach temperatures that have been hovering around the 70-degree mark these past few weeks.

A guilty pleasure though, as rain is needed after a very dry fall and start to winter.

However, a certain craze has emerged during this period of unseasonal weather and people are noticing a spectacle that is not normally seen due to the lack of storms that typically pound the region at this time of year.

There is a light show in the sky each night. The sunset craze has taken hold.

If you have been to any of the local beaches in the late afternoon, such as Rio del Mar and Seacliff, you might have noticed that this isn’t the typical winter crowd. People are flocking in from all over to witness and photograph this spectacular show of color and light.

Though sunsets can typically be at their best this time of year anyway, the storm-free period has provided exceptional clarity on the horizon. Any haze, smoke, clouds or marine layer has only added to the special effects that have been dazzling onlookers for the past few months.

But are the sunsets actually different this year?

“I haven’t noticed much change this year. There are usually enough clouds to create that pink cotton candy I am waiting for,” said local realtor Mike Young, who typically walks or runs along the beach 2-3 times per week all year. “I always think we are blessed to live so close to the beauty of the ocean.”

It might just be the warmer days and clear skies that are attracting more people. It could also be due to the ease of being able to share what people see instantly. Even considering all of those reasons, the truth is that there are many days year round with incredible sunsets, but you just have to go see it. Whatever the reason, the sunset craze is catching on.

Is there an end in sight for this clear weather and the string of evenings with comfortable sunset viewing?

“There’s a hint of rain in the North Bay maybe Thursday or Saturday,” said Mark Strudley, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Monterey. He also added that the chance of rain on those days is a very slight chance, and we shouldn’t hold on to that.

As for the future, it appears that at this point, it is currently a neutral place that isn’t considered to be El Niño or La Niña.

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