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A Weird Reverse 'May Gray' Is Keeping Inland L.A. Cloudier Than Usual

Vista Del Mar Park (Photo by howard-f via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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An unusual weather pattern is causing cool, foggy weather to stick around parts of Los Angeles longer than it typically does.While early morning cloud cover across L.A. is pretty typical for this time of year, lately that marine layer—or "May Gray," if you prefer—has been hanging around further inland, especially around the foothills of the mountains and in valleys, according to KPCC. That cloudy marine layer normally comes in from the ocean in the morning, heads toward the mountains and then recedes. But in recent weeks, we're seeing the opposite, where the marine layer disappears near the shore, but the clouds linger inland. And according to the pros over at the National Weather Service, this atypical weather pattern is called “reverse clearing.”

This funky reverse "May Gray" is apparently caused by an atypical low pressure system that's hanging out over Southern California, which is helping the marine layer to become taller and heavier than usual. In some cases, those clouds are stretching twice as high, somewhere around 4,000 feet. As a result, these heavy clouds are piling up near the mountains and are harder to disperse, except where steady ocean breezes clear them out along the coast.

Here's a handy visual to help you picture what's happening:

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So, while this reverse marine layer is not really cause to panic, it does help to understand just why you aren't always seeing those bright, blue skies as you cruise around parts of the city. Besides, it may give a bit of respite from what might otherwise be toasty afternoons inland, while at the same time offering crystal clear conditions when you hit the beach. Then again, it could all change sooner than we think.