I had a few shifts at both LAX and VNY airports during a stormy week in Southern California. Many California stations recorded their all-time record low barometric pressure reading on January 21. One of these stations was Los Angeles Airport (LAX), where pressure dropped to 29.07″ at about 1 p.m.! And, I was the observer on duty when this record occurred! What are the odds that I would be the weather observer at LAX when the all-time low pressure was reached? I work at LAX infrequently — maybe 15 times each year. About 87,000 days have passed since LAX opened in 1931, and (a potential) 262,000 eight-hour weather observing shifts. You do the math — I don’t want to. The undecoded obs from LAX during the timeframe of the lowest pressure (A2907) are pasted below the images.
Below are images from LAX (Jan 21 and 22) and VNY (Jan 23). The first four are from LAX, and show aircraft landing and taking off towards the east, which is somewhat rare. That is Santa Monica Bay and the Malibu coastline in the distance on 1211, The next eight are from LAX on the 22nd. Among these are shots of a storm base to the north, with the L.A. skyline on the right. The storm base exhibits an obvious “clear slot”, which is an area of cloud erosion which is likely due to an RFD (rear-flank downdraft). The low-level shear on this day was strong enough to allow some low-level storm organization and rotation. No lightning was observed with this cell, but it dumped half-inch-sized hail near Beverly Hills.
The remaining images were taken at Van Nuys AP on the 23rd. I was there for a pretty sunrise as a shallow fog bank drifted up to the south end of the runway.
METAR KLAX 211953Z 11003KT 5SM RA BR SCT014 OVC020 12/09 A2911 RMK AO2 SLP855 P0011 T01170094
SPECI KLAX 212006Z 14003KT 2 1/2SM R25R/6000VP6000FT +RA BR SCT014 BKN020 OVC028 12/10 A2910 RMK AO2 P0007
SPECI KLAX 212022Z 17007KT 140V210 3SM RA BR SCT012CB BKN019 OVC028 12/10 A2909 RMK AO2 CB NE MOV N P0018
SPECI KLAX 212039Z 21015G19KT 4SM RA BR BKN012CB BKN022 OVC031 13/11 A2908 RMK AO2 CB NE MOV N P0024
METAR KLAX 212053Z 22015G24KT 3SM RA FEW010 BKN023CB OVC040 13/10 A2907 RMK AO2 SLP844 CB NE MOV N P0026 60037 T01330100 56039 $
SPECI KLAX 212122Z 23014G24KT 2SM -RA BKN014CB OVC022 13/11 A2908 RMK AO2 CB OHD MOV NE P0001 $
SPECI KLAX 212133Z 25018G26KT 7SM R25R/5500VP6000FT -RA FEW014CB SCT022 OVC050 12/09 A2909 RMK AO2 PK WND 25026/2125 CB SE-NE MOV NE P0003 $
METAR KLAX 212153Z 25015KT 10SM FEW015CB SCT030 OVC055 13/10 A2910 RMK AO2 PK WND 25026/2125 RAE39 SLP852 CB E MOV NE P0003 T01280100 $