Say the phrase “June gloom” to a resident of the Pacific Northwest and they’ll likely scoff at you. After all, unlike our cronies from up the coast, Southern California is famous for its sunny climate. Los Angeles can average 186 days of sunshine per year — and that doesn’t even count partly sunny days. You might even say that Angelenos are spoiled when it comes to weather. But every year, just before summer proper arrives, the morning weather in Los Angeles turns gloomy as a hazy gray marine layer descends over our palm trees and taco stands. Maybe it isn’t Seattle-gloomy, but it is certainly not the reliable sunshine that Southern Californians are accustomed to the rest of the year.
From Raymond Chandler’s “The Little Sister” (1949):
“It was one of those clear, bright summer mornings we get in the early spring in California before the high fog sets in. The rains are over. The hills are still green and in the valley across the Hollywood hills you can see snow on the high mountains. The fur stores are advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen-year-old virgins are doing a land-office business. And in Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees are beginning to bloom.”
From David Kipen (proprietor of Libros Schmibros Lending Library & Used Bookshop):
June Gloom: “in Southern California, the month of the year that most resembles New York on its best day.”
Do Southern Californians have any room to complain when it comes to a few dreary mornings? What is the cause of weather phenomena like June gloom, May gray or Fogust? How do you cope until the sun comes back… around lunchtime?
Sam Iacobellis, researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California
David Ulin, book editor for the Los Angeles Times